Lymphedema Treatment

Lymphedema is not a life-threatening condition. If left untreated, lymphedema may worsen with time. It often interferes with wound healing, and may cause skin changes and tissue thickening (fibrosis). It may also result in loss of range of motion and strength due to heavy limb size, weight, and discomfort or pain. ​

Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema. However, with early intervention and proper treatment, the condition can be controlled and minimized, allowing you to lead a full and normal life. ​

The goal of lymphedema treatment is to reduce the swelling and to maintain the reduction through Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT).​

Lymphedema is treated with a variety of approaches, depending on it’s location in the body, and the severity.​

Treatment begins with a physician’s referral to a specially trained Lymphedema Therapist. The therapist performs a thorough evaluation to determine a baseline of the individual’s range of motion, sensation, pain, strength, skin integrity, and extent of swelling.

We believe the original treatment method, known as The Vodder Techinque, also known as Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the most effective way to treat this disorder. CDT was developed by Dr. Emil Vodder in France during the 1930’s. Over the years it was refined by several doctors, and moved from Europe, to Canada, then to the USA in the 1980’s.

Learn More About Complete Decongestive Therapy

CDT is a safe, effective, and gentle approach to draining excess fluid from the body’s tissues, including:

  1. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) – special massage to promote lymph drainage.
  2. Meticulous Skin Care – prevents infection.
  3. Compression Bandaging – reduces swelling.
  4. Decongestive Exercise – improves functioning of the lymphatic system, range of motion, and strength.

We also use state of the art German equipment to assist in the reduction of lymphedema by breaking down the hardened protein and fibrotic tissue that have collected in the limb.

Your Treatment at the Lymphedema Therapy Center will be provided by Certified and Licensed Therapists trained in the Dr. Vodder European Method.

There are two phases

CDT - Phase I

The goal is to move the lymph fluid out of your affected area using MLD techniques and short-stretch compression bandages to reduce the swelling.

CDT - Phase II

Once the swelling is reduced, you will be fitted with a graduated compression garment, which will replace the compression bandages.  Compression garments are to be worn during the day and bandages will be used at night as needed.

Compression therapy with short stretch bandages and the correct padding is a very important primary treatment method to decongest the extremity. When a bandage is applied to the limb, pressure is exerted on the tissues. During movement, the limb works against the resistance of the bandages and improves muscle pump efficiency, resulting in improved flow of lymph fluid in the affected limb.​

With great therapeutic skills and good patient compliance, the bandage can be adjusted to fit the changing circumference of the affected limb. Short stretch bandages may also be worn 23-24 hours.​

Compression garments (stockings/sleeves) should be used only as a secondary treatment after decreasing the edematous limb, since compression garments on their own, will not reduce swelling associated with lymphedema.

Once swelling has reduced, it is important to wear compression stockings/sleeves daily and short stretch bandages during the night as recommended by your therapist.

Preventive Measures

Best Time to Initiate Lymphedema Treatment is 2-3 Weeks After Surgery.
​Early Intervention and Treatment will:

  • Optimize healing of tissues
  • Reduce local inflammation
  • Assist the lymphatic system to begin its own healing
  • Decrease scar tissue fibrosis during radiation
  • Restore tissue mobility
  • Decrease tightness and heaviness
  • Maximize your functional return to an active life


“After my lymphedema treatments, my edema has been eliminated and the feeling in my feet has returned. I can walk more comfortably. I wish that I knew about the Lymphedema Center three years ago.”

– W. J. G

“They’re really the only ones who have helped me, everyone and everything there is first-rate – the therapists, the treatment, and the results. I’m very happy with my experience, and I highly recommend the Lymphedema Therapy Center.”

– K.H.

“I’ve been blessed with all the care that I have had, the Lymphedema Therapy Center staff are all great, and the therapist who took care of me was fantastic. I got everything I thought I should get from them, and I never had any pain, I’m very pleased with the results.”

–J. N.

“Before I went to the Lymphedema Center to see Lili, my legs were red with blisters, they felt heavy, painful, and I had difficulty walking. After the manual lymph drainage and bandaging, my legs felt lighter with no pain, and my skin is back to normal. Lili got the lymphedema compression pump for me that Medicare paid for.”

–T. L. C.

“I have nothing but praise for what they have done. They are well trained and knowledgeable in what they’re doing. It’s amazing.”

–H. S.

“They’re very caring and kind, they talked to me and answered all my questions. It was such a wonderful experience and the swelling went down with their technique in no time, I hated to be discharged.”

–D. P.

‘I’m now in a position, thanks to the Lymphedema Therapy Center, to live a more productive, better quality life.”

–S. S.