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What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid just beneath the skin. Swelling, or edema, occurs most commonly in the arm or leg, but it may also occur in other parts of the body including the breast or trunk, head and neck, or genitals. Lymphedema usually develops when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes are removed but can also be present when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired due to a hereditary condition.

What Causes Lymphedema?

  • People may be born with abnormalities in the lymphatic system.
  • Damage to the lymphatic system from surgery, trauma, radiation, or infection. Lymphedema can occur after cancer treatment, either immediately or even months to years later.
  • Cancer-related surgeries such as surgical resection of melanoma, breast, gynecological, head and neck, prostate or testicular, bladder, or colon cancer may require the removal of lymph nodes. These surgeries put patients at risk of developing lymphedema.
  • Radiation Therapy

Physical Therapist Kathy McBride is a certified lymphedema therapist, trained in the treatment and management of lymphedema. If you would like additional information about the treatment of lymphedema at Scotland Memorial Hospital's Rehabilitation Services, please contact Ms. McBride at 910-291-7800.