Lymphedema Treatment at Tampa General Hospital
A patient’s specific lymphedema treatment will depend on a variety of factors. There are many different types of this condition, and its severity differs from person to person. One of the first priorities of any treatment plan is to prevent any serious medical complications from developing. For example, in rare cases, severe, untreated lymphedema can result in a form of soft tissue cancer. However, the most common complication is due to high-protein lymphatic fluid that builds up under the skin (typically in an arm or leg) which is favorable for bacteria growth. For this reason, avoiding infection is an important goal of any treatment strategy.
Lymphedema also causes pain and swelling in the affected area. Though there is no cure, a patient’s lymphedema treatment can help to reduce discomfort as well as to move lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Some of these treatments include:
- Light exercise – Certain types of non-strenuous exercise can encourage lymph fluid drainage, which reduces swelling and prepares patients for everyday tasks.
- Compression – Compression via massage, specialized garments, and/or a pneumatic sleeve can encourage lymph fluid movement and possibly reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Surgery – This lymphedema treatment is typically reserved for severe cases, and involves the removal of excess tissue from the affected area.
Tampa General Hospital has certified lymphedema therapists on staff who can provide lymphedema treatment.