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Upper Extremity Lymphedema Program

Although lymphedema is a debilitating progressive condition with no known cure, it’s important to know that it can be managed.

Through the outpatient program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio, we can help you improve comfort and regain function. Our objective is to teach you and your family members about effective, independent self-treatment.

Conditions Treated

Lymphedema is a swelling brought about by a blockage in the body’s lymphatic system. Causes can include trauma, surgical removal of lymph nodes in fighting breast cancer, or simply poor lymphatic drainage. Swelling frequently strikes in the head, neck, limbs, breast or trunk, and may be acute, intermittent or chronic (long duration). Often, it causes pain, reduced function and limited mobility.


At the Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio, we offer research-based care to help you control the effects of lymphedema. Our physical therapists are trained and certified in the Vodder method of complete manual lymph drainage therapy.

After evaluation, your treatment plan could include:

  • Manual decongestive lymph drainage
  • Bandaging, to provide compression
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Education about the condition, precautions and skin care
  • Instruction on massage, bandaging techniques and exercise
  • Recommendations, as appropriate, for long-term support and control garments

Ask your physician about a referral to our program.

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