Lymphedema Rehabilitation

Lymphedema is a chronic, progressive condition affecting more than three million people in the United States. It is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling, typically in the arms and/or legs, but also in other parts of the body.

Some people may develop lymphedema after an injury or illness and for others there may be no known cause. But most cases are the result of surgical procedures, often for cancer management, in which lymph nodes are removed. At Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, our team of medical rehabilitation specialists offers a safe and effective treatment to help individuals successfully manage this condition.


Lymphedema can be both painful and disfiguring. Its symptoms include swelling and heaviness in the affected area, aches and discomfort, changes in skin texture, infection and lymph cysts that leak. As a result, patients may have difficulty walking and performing daily tasks. Many complain that clothing and even jewelry feel uncomfortable or tight. However, studies indicate that therapeutic intervention and lifestyle modifications can help reduce or alleviate many of the symptoms individuals with lymphedema experience.

Our Approach

Kessler's certified lymphedema therapists conduct a comprehensive evaluation and develop an individualized treatment plan. We introduce the strategies, exercises, products and therapeutic interventions to best meet the needs – and rehabilitation goals – of each patient. Our overall objective is to help individuals:

  • Reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Enhance flexibility and strength
  • Improve skin texture and wound healing
  • Learn self-management of the condition


The specialists at Kessler use Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) to treat individuals with all types of lymphedema. This highly effective approach includes: manual lymph drainage (MLD), a massage-like technique to move lymphatic fluid; skin care; compression bandaging; and exercise. Extensive education and training are also key elements of this comprehensive program.

Patients can expect to participate in three to five therapy sessions per week for two to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the condition. Once stabilized, patients are fitted with the appropriate compression garments for home management.


Kessler therapists guide patients in the selection of proper lymphedema products, including compression garments, bandages and other materials, as well as skin care items. They may also recommend a variety of resources for lymphedema patients, such as books, videos, articles and support groups.

For More Information

For more information about Kessler's Lymphedema Rehabilitation, contact or call Kessler's West Orange, Saddle Brook or Chester Campus.