Lymphedema is a chronic disease of the lymphatic system that results in mild to severe swelling of different regions of the body. There are two types of lymphedema: primary, which is hereditary, and secondary, which is due to physical trauma, infection, surgery, or radiation. For example, a patient who is treated for breast cancer may develop lymphedema in the arm on the side of the breast treatment if the lymphatic system is damaged during surgery, radiation, and/or lymph node removal. The swelling is due to a protein rich fluid called lymph that accumulates when the lymphatic vessels and nodes are damaged.
What can I expect from lymphedema treatment?
- Education on anatomy of the lymphatic system
- Education on the disease process of lymphedema
- Bandaging to decrease swelling in the affected area
- Manual lymph drainage to move fluid to healthy lymph vessels
- Fitting for compression garments
Is the treatment covered by my insurance?
- Depending on your condition and insurance, many compression garments are covered by insurance.
- The skilled treatment by a physical therapist (manual lymph drainage, exercise prescription, and education) is covered by insurance.
- Most insurances do not cover the bandages used to control swelling in the first stage of treatment. Ask us about costs associated with treatment.
Know that lymphedema is a chronic condition and Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center of Bellingham is here to support wherever you are in the process. We work with local partners to make sure you have all your needs met to keep your swelling under control.