Lymphedema

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the soft tissues, which can cause swelling of the arms, legs, breast, abdomen, neck or head. Primary lymphedema may be present at birth or develop in puberty or adulthood.

Lymphedema frequently is caused by various treatments for cancer, especially breast cancer, such as radiation or removal of lymph nodes and vessels.

Lymphedema is not a cancer, but because it is most commonly caused by cancer treatment, our certified lymphedema therapists work at the Norton Cancer Institute.

Causes of lymphedema unrelated to cancer treatment include infection or trauma to the lymphatic system.

If left untreated, lymphedema can cause

  • Dramatic swelling of affected extremities
  • Frequent infections
  • Skin changes
  • Discomfort
  • Loss of motor function and independence

Lymphedema Treatment

Lymphedema cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.

The best treatment is complete decongestive therapy, which involves:

  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Compression therapy
  • Skin care
  • Exercise

In addition to complete decongestive therapy, our therapists can address pain, tightness and decreased strength that may accompany the lymphedema.

Axillary Web Syndrome (cording)

Axillary web syndrome, or cording, is another condition that can emerge with lymphedema. With axillary web syndrome, you can feel and possibly see a ropelike web of tissue under the skin on the inside of your arm. Sometimes, you may just feel the pain and tightness of the cords.

Axillary web syndrome cords typically appear within weeks of having lymph nodes removed. The cords usually start in the underarm and can extend all the way to your hand. Our therapists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to release the tight cords.

Our therapists also measure for and fit compression garments. Treatment usually is covered by insurance plans with prior authorization and approval.

To learn more about lymphedema and treatment options, call or visit any of these locations:

Downtown Louisville

Norton Healthcare Pavilion, fourth floor
315 E. Broadway
Phone: (502) 629-4062
Fax: (502) 629-4059

Norton Brownsboro Hospital Campus

Norton Cancer Institute – Brownsboro, third floor
4955 Norton Healthcare Blvd.
Phone: (502) 394-6455
Fax: (502) 394-6351

Norton Healthcare – St. Matthews Campus

Norton Medical Plaza 2 – St. Matthews, Suite 405
3991 Dutchmans Lane
Phone: (502) 899-6684
Fax: (502) 899-3455

Overall – 1234

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., to retire; pioneered cancer care in Louisville and Southern Indiana

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., came to Louisville in 1981 and was one of four founders of what is now Norton Cancer Institute. After almost 40 years as a medical oncologist, Dr. Woodcock plans to retire […]

Read Full Story

Norton Healthcare facilities earn ‘LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader’ designations for second year

Norton Healthcare’s five hospitals and Norton Cancer Institute have been named LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the second year in a row. Norton Healthcare was one of 406 facilities […]

Read Full Story

Recipe: Summer squash pasta salad

Makes 16 servings Supplies: Large pot, large sauté pan, large serving bowl Ingredients  16-ounce box whole-wheat rotini pasta 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 medium zucchini, diced 2 medium yellow squashes, diced 8 ounces mozzarella balls, […]

Read Full Story

New dad gets ependymoma brain tumor diagnosis one day after son’s birth

March 2016 was a life-changing time for the Davis family. On March 23, Matt Davis and his wife, Hailey, celebrated the birth of their son, Finley. The next day, Matt learned he had a rare […]

Read Full Story

West Nile virus found in mosquitoes in Louisville area

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness announced Monday, Aug. 12, that mosquitoes found in one ZIP code of Jefferson County, Kentucky, are carrying West Nile virus. The affected ZIP code is 40215, […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., to retire; pioneered cancer care in Louisville and Southern Indiana

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., came to Louisville in 1981 and was one of four founders of what is now Norton Cancer Institute. After almost 40 years as a medical oncologist, Dr. Woodcock plans to retire […]

Read Full Story

Norton Healthcare facilities earn ‘LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader’ designations for second year

Norton Healthcare’s five hospitals and Norton Cancer Institute have been named LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the second year in a row. Norton Healthcare was one of 406 facilities […]

Read Full Story

Recipe: Summer squash pasta salad

Makes 16 servings Supplies: Large pot, large sauté pan, large serving bowl Ingredients  16-ounce box whole-wheat rotini pasta 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 medium zucchini, diced 2 medium yellow squashes, diced 8 ounces mozzarella balls, […]

Read Full Story

New dad gets ependymoma brain tumor diagnosis one day after son’s birth

March 2016 was a life-changing time for the Davis family. On March 23, Matt Davis and his wife, Hailey, celebrated the birth of their son, Finley. The next day, Matt learned he had a rare […]

Read Full Story

West Nile virus found in mosquitoes in Louisville area

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness announced Monday, Aug. 12, that mosquitoes found in one ZIP code of Jefferson County, Kentucky, are carrying West Nile virus. The affected ZIP code is 40215, […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.