Lymphedema Rehab

Lymphedema Rehab

Outpatient Only

The Elliot Rehabilitation Services Lymphedema Specialty program focuses on assessment and treatment of swelling in the arm, leg, face or chest in order to decrease risk of infection, improve functional use, and maintain or regain quality of life. Our goal is to provide education to persons at risk for lymphedema and provide lymphedema therapy treatment to those who already have it.

What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is defined as an abnormal accumulation of high protein fluid in the tissues, which causes swelling, and hardening of the affected areas. It is most commonly seen in the arms and legs but can also be present in the trunk, face, and neck. There are two forms of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Primary lymphedema is the result of abnormal development of the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema can occur after damage to the lymphatic system through trauma, surgery, radiation treatments, long-standing vein problems or infection.

Common Causes of Lymphedema:

  • Cancer treatment/surgery/radiation
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Venous Insufficiency
  • Abnormal Development of the lymphatic system

Our Approach

Our therapists involve the patient to create a treatment plan that ensures maximal success. Treatment is customized to each patient per their individual needs. We utilize a variety of techniques which may include:

  • Skin care
  • Manual lymphatic drainage, (MLD) is a gentle manual treatment which improves the activity of the lymph vascular system. MLD re-routs the lymph flow around the blocked areas into healthy lymph vessels which drain into the venous system.
  • Bandaging
  • Exercise/ range of motion
  • Patient education
  • Compression garments

Advanced Care/Expertise

Our Occupational and Physical Therapists have specialty certification to perform lymphedema treatment. The Elliot Rehabilitation Services team has a strong collaboration with Elliot Breast Health, Elliot Radiation Oncology, NH Oncology and Hematology, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.