Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Lymphatic System; Lymphedema -- therapy


The condition of lymphedema has a significant impact of the quality of life of the person affected. Few patients are educated about the possibility of developing lymphedema and methods for prevention of lymphedema following surgical removal of lymph nodes or radiation therapy. Also, most physical therapists have received minimal or inadequate training in the area of lymphedema treatment. Hence, physical therapists may actually damage a patient's lymphatic system by using inadequate techniques.

The purpose of this literature review is to examine the lymphatic system, discuss the condition of lymphedema, and review various methods for prevention and treatment of lymphedema in order to provide physical therapists with an awareness of appropriate clinical techniques. Improving the clinician's awareness of lymphedema and proper treatment techniques will improve the outcome of therapy for the patient. As the outcome of therapy is improved, the quality of life of the patient will likely improve as well.