How do you treat Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic condition that must be managed for life.  Our therapists are trained and certified in Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which is considered the best practice for the management of Lymphedema.  CDT has four parts.

Part One: Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Complete Decongestive Therapy skin care education as part of Lymphedema Treatment at Mather HospitalThis is a “hands on” manipulation of both the body tissue with lymphedema and adjacent selected areas. Our specially trained therapists use gentle pressure to empty and decompress obstructed lymph vessels. Such therapy facilitates the unhindered flow of the lymph fluid and allows the limb to return to normal or near normal size.

Part Two: Compression Bandaging

Complete Decongestive Therapy, Lymphedema Treatment at Mather HospitalOnce the MLD treatment is completed, the area is wrapped with layers of compression bandages. This helps the affected area maintain its reduced size.

Part Three: Exercise

Complete Decongestive Therapy Exercises for Lymphedema Treatment at Mather HospitalWith the bandages in place, the patient will exercise to strengthen the muscles and improve lymph and circulatory system function.
Active muscles enhance the process of pumping proteins, cells and water away from areas affected by lymphedema. The compression bandages provide support to the muscle’s “pump system,” prompting the absorption of excess lymphatic fluid.

Part Four: Skin Care 

Patients with lymphedema are at high risk for infection, so proper skin care and nutrition are critical to success.

Part Five: Education 

Patients are taught how to self-manage their Lymphedema.  Patients become proficient in CDT techniques: wrapping, exercises and skin care to continue after completion of treatment.  Diligent management provides the patient with the best possible outcome.

How long does treatment take?

Every patient is unique, so the specific course of treatment for each patient varies. After an initial evaluation, the Lymphedema Therapist will determine an individualized treatment plan. Treatments can range from 1-5 days/week for a period of 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity and location of the swelling. Throughout the therapy, the Lymphedema Therapist is in constant communication with your referring physician to optimize your care.

Contact us
(631) 686-7648


125 Oakland Avenue
Suite 301
Port Jefferson, NY 11777


Monday – Friday
7:30 am – 4 pm