Lymphedema is the swelling of part of the body due to damage or dysfunction of the lymph system. Lymphedema of the arm or chest wall is a common complication after breast cancer and lymph node removal, and often causes mobility limitations and discomfort. Lymphedema of the leg and lower part of the trunk can occur following cancers such as prostate and ovarian cancer. People affected by lymphedema have an increased risk of developing infections in the affected body part. The risk of developing lymphedema can be decreased and progression of the lymphedema to advanced stages can often be prevented if treated by a lymphedema therapist early after lymphatic compromise has occurred.
Primary lymphedema is a swelling that is caused by a malformation of the lymphatic system during its development in the mother’s womb. However, symptoms are often not present until later in life. It can affect any part of the body, even head and neck, pelvis, and abdomen.
In the treatment of lymphedema, Sonja Redden will use combined decongestive therapy. This therapy will help reduce the swelling, improve your comfort, including well-being and esthetics, and prevent complications like skin alterations, infections and loss of function. It is a combination of compression, exercise, skin care and manual lymph drainage (Vodder method).
Depending on the goal of the treatment (prevention, maintenance, or volume reduction), the severity of the condition, and the client’s unique circumstances, Sonja and the client will discuss and select the best suitable treatment protocol.
The most desirable outcome is to enable the client to manage their lymphedema mostly independently, like any other chronic condition, in the long-term.