Children's Specialized Hospital Occupational Therapy

Lymphedema Therapy

Lymphedema is swelling caused by the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the areas around the skin cells. Lymphatic fluid, consisting of excess protein, cell debris and waste matter, bacteria and foreign material is drained by the superficial lymph system and carried to the lymph nodes to be filtered out before the remaining fluid is returned to the circulatory system. Problems in this system arise when there are not enough transport vessels, the vessels are either too big or too small, the vessels are malformed or damaged or where there are insufficient or damaged lymph nodes. The result is a back up into the tissue spaces of these materials which we then see as swelling. The swelling may be evident at birth, may develop in childhood or may occur following trauma to the area.

Certified Lymphedema Therapists at Children's Specialized hospital effectively treat children with lymphedema with Complete Decongestive Therapy. This four part treatment protocol consists of:

  • Manual Lymph Drainage - this special technique is used to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid. The child and family are taught this technique (as well as compression wrapping) so that they begin to manage the lymphedema at home.
  • Compression Wrapping - special bandages or garments are used to provide proper compression to support and assist the lymph system.
  • Skin Care - proper skin care is taught to the family and child.
  • Exercise - proper exercise also stimulates the lymph system through the movement of muscles and skin. Children and their families are instructed in simple home exercise programs tailored to their needs and interests.

Certified Lymphedema Therapists are available in Mountainside and Toms River. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Judith Sedlak PT, CLT at (908) 518-5841 or email her at jsedlak@childrens-specialized.org.