Lymphedema is caused by a buildup of fluid in body tissues. The lymph system collects excess protein and fluid from tissues and carries them back to the blood stream. At surgery, lymph nodes and the attached vessels may need to be removed. Following removal of several axillary (armpit) lymph nodes the flow of lymphatic fluid can be compromised resulting in swelling of the arm referred to as lymphedema.
Treatment for lymphedema is available through the Saint Joseph Specialty Center. While there is no cure, three certified lymphedema specialists can offer education on management of symptoms. Instruction in breast cancer recovery exercises is also available.
Please contact Saint Joseph Rehabilitation Department and Specialty Center (859.313.1792) for further information.
You can learn more about lymphedema by visiting The National Lymphedema Network.