Lymphedema is a build up of fluid in any part of the body due to stressors such as lymph node removal, injury, radiation treatment or venous insufficiency (secondary lymphedema). People also can be born with lymphatic systems that do not function normally (primary lymphedema).

Lymphedema is most often in the arms and legs; however, it can occur anywhere on the body where you have skin and, therefore, lymph vessels. There is no cure for lymphedema, but it can be effectively controlled with professional treatment and self-management.

For patients at risk for lymphedema, we provide education on prevention, and we monitor your progress to start treatment early, which promotes the best outcomes.

The Lymphedema Program at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) includes complete decongestive therapy (CDT) performed by certified lymphedema therapists to help reduce swelling in affected areas. This individualized comprehensive approach includes:

  • Gradient bandaging
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
  • Skin and nail care
  • Therapeutic exercises

Education is essential so that you learn how to manage your lymphedema in order to be able to do all the things you need and want to do in daily life. Good lymphedema management is also important for the prevention of infections.