At WVU Medicine Rehabilitation Services, lymphedema therapists conduct evaluations and treat patients for lymphedema.

We also use lymphedema treatments for other types of edema including:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
  • Vascular issues – deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Dynamic edema from cardiac issues
  • Infections such as cellulitis

What is Lymphedema?

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and ducts that return water, proteins, fats, bacteria/viruses, and wastes from your cells to the lymph nodes where they are filtered and sent to be removed from your body. The system is crucial to keeping your body healthy.

Lymphedema is a chronic condition where swelling occurs in body tissue. The swelling occurs when the lymphatic system has been blocked, damaged, or is underdeveloped and prevents the lymph fluid from draining properly. It often occurs in the arms or legs but can also occur in the chest, trunk, and head/neck.

Left untreated, swelling may increase and worsen, skin may become unhealthy, infections can occur, and wounds may have difficulty healing, and decreased movement and functional use may result.

The most common causes are: cancer, lymph vessel blockage, and removal or damage from cancer treatments, such as radiation and surgery. Other causes may be trauma/injuries, surgeries, recurrent infections, and chronic venous insufficiency.