Lymphedema unit with a specialized physical therapistBreast Center
Lymphedema: Prevention & Treatment
What is lymphedema
Lymphedema is the accumulation of albumin-rich fluid between tissues.
It is caused by an imbalance of the lymphatic load, when the load surpasses the transport capacity of the lymphatic system. Lymphedema may occur either immediately, or a few months or even many years after surgery. Its occurrence often forces patients to take time off work, social or sporting activities, causing anxiety and distress. Depending on its cause, lymphedema can be divided into primary or secondary lymphedema.
Primary lymphedema is usually due to congenital valvular incompetence or aplasia, hypoplasia or even hyperplasia of the collecting lymphatic vessels.
Secondary lymphedema occurs more often and is due to:
- Lymph node removal surgery (partial or complete lymph node dissection)
- Accidents (injuries, burns, etc.)
- Chronic venous insufficiency and removal of varicose veins
- Infections (fungi, parasites, etc.)
- Special treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.)
- The patient’s age, etc.
Lymphedema is divided into three stages and requires treatment in all stages, from the mildest to the most severe form.
The results of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) with Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), applied at any of the three stages as the first-choice method, are very promising, and patients are at no risk.
A Lymphedema Centre is operating at IASO, which is in direct collaboration with the Breast Center and IASO’s Gynecologic Oncology Department. It is in a well-equipped space, aiming at the provision of information about the nature, prevention and treatment of lymphedema by a specialized physical therapist.