Blockage or damage to the lymph and vascular systems can lead to swelling of tissue or lymphedema in the upper and lower extremities (arms and legs) as well as other parts of the body. Although it can’t be cured, lymphedema can be managed.

NorthShore’s lymphedema program promotes quality of life by helping patients regain the ability and confidence to resume activities of daily living. Our licensed occupational and physical therapists, certified by the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA), work with individuals to safely maximize extremity function through limb size reduction. They also educate patients and family members in self-management of the disorder.

An initial evaluation by a lymphologist or physician who is an expert on the diagnosis and treatment of lymphedema is preferred prior to receiving rehab services at NorthShore. An individualized treatment program will then be prescribed. Occupational and physical therapists trained in the treatment of lymphedema will complete a comprehensive evaluation and develop a personalized treatment plan. Strategies for care may include:

  • complete decongestive therapy (CDT)
  • manual lymphatic drainage
  • multilayered compression bandaging
  • custom garments
  • lymphedema exercises
  • skin care
  • scar mobilization
  • range of motion (ROM) exercises
  • strengthening and stretching exercises 

For more information, call 847.570.1132.

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