Head & Neck Lymphedema
Provided throughout Gainesville, Lake City, and Northeast Florida
Why is my face and neck swelling?
A patient may experience side effects of lymphedema following treatment of head and neck cancer. This treatment may include modalities such as a surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Following the treatment of your cancer the face or neck may begin to swell or puff up.
Why does the swelling come and go?
Throughout the day the lymphatic system is pumping fluid through your body to keep you as healthy as possible. This fluid is transported through the body and broken down by lymph nodes. When the fluid has a disruption in the breakdown it may stay put and not completely drain properly.
How can I help the fluid drain?
Your therapist will teach you a series of manual “massage” along with decongesting and opening the body to allow improved flow of the lymphatic fluid and decreased swelling. Your therapist will teach you exercises and tricks to help the drainage. Sleeping as upright as possible is one way to help. The fluid is managed through “massage” and compression (a garment or wrap that is placed over the swelling to help decrease it).
How does the swelling impact my daily life?
Swelling can have a significant impact on your life. It may result in difficulty breathing, swallowing, coughing or communicating. Some patients share their tongue feels “full” and “heavy”.
If you have questions about lymphedema as a speech pathologist, physical therapist or occupational therapist please contact Lauren on education opportunities. Not only is she a certified lymphedema therapist and specialist but also an educator. Follow closely for courses in the future! Goals are to hold a live course in year 2022 specific to the head and neck lymphedema therapist.