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The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Lymphedema Management

Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of lymph fluid resulting in swelling of a body part, most commonly a limb.

Causes of lymphedema include:

  • Injury
  • Scarring and/or removal of lymph nodes
  • Trauma to the lymphatic system
  • Malfunction of the lymphatic system present at birth

Symptoms of lymphedema can result in decreased limb mobility, impaired ability to use the limb, difficulty fitting into clothes or shoes, recurrent infections and emotional distress.

Although it is chronic and progressive in nature, lymphedema can be successfully treated and managed. The most successful treatment for lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP), which is a safe, effective and noninvasive treatment technique. CDP includes manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, exercise and skin/nail care. Following completion of the initial four-to-six week treatment period, a home program is prescribed to maintain results.

At Johns Hopkins, CDP is performed by an occupational therapist certified in CDP and manual lymph drainage.

For an appointment at our Green Spring Station location, please call 410-583-2665.

For appointments at the Johns Hopkins downtown clinic, please call 410-614-3234.