Lymphedema Therapy

Feel more comfortable and reduce swelling with help from UNC Health Johnston’s certified lymphedema therapists in Smithfield.

Symptoms of Lymphedema

If you have lymphedema, you may experience:

  • Swollen arms and legs
  • Decreased flexibility of your hands and feet
  • Difficulty fitting into clothing or wearing jewelry
  • Red, warm, tight, or puffy skin
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs

You may have been born with lymphedema (known as congenital lymphedema), or you may develop it due to certain medications, surgery, trauma, or cancer treatment.

Benefits of Lymphedema Therapy

Lymphedema therapy may help you:

  • Decrease swelling, stiffness, and pain
  • Improve tissue health to prevent infections
  • Stimulate drainage of lymph (fluid with white blood cells)
  • Return to daily activities

Your First Appointment

During your first appointment, the lymphedema therapist may:

  • Ask about your symptoms, health history, and lifestyle
  • Look for changes in the affected skin and soft tissue
  • Measure swelling
  • Order imaging tests to check for the cause of swelling
  • Outline goals and likely outcomes for therapy

Complete Decongestive Therapy

To help you control lymphedema, your therapist will likely use complete decongestive therapy (CDT), which includes:

  • Exercise – Teaches specific movements to help drain built-up fluid
  • Manual lymphatic drainage – Massages your tissue and muscles to move fluid away from the swollen area
  • Skin and nail care – Educates you on skin and nail hygiene, including use of mild soaps and moisturizers to prevent infection
  • Wrapping and compression – Uses bandages or tight-fitting garments to encourage fluid drainage

Attend regular appointments with your UNC Health Johnston lymphedema therapist to help prevent infections or fluid buildup.

Request an Appointment

Ask your doctor to refer you to rehabilitation at UNC Health Johnston. Then, call us or ask your doctor’s office to call us at 919-938-7296 to make an appointment.

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