Lymphedema occurs when there is an increase in fluid in soft body tissue from trauma to the lymphatic system. Damage interferes with the ability of the lymph fluid to move through the body. Lymph fluid circulation is critical to keeping the body healthy because it collects bacteria, viruses and waste products. The two types of lymphedema are primary and secondary. Secondary lymphedema, which is the more common type, results from breast cancer surgery and treatment; however, lymphedema can occur as a result of any surgery or trauma involving lymph nodes and vessels. Evaluating its impact and providing individualized treatment is essential to supporting occupational engagement and enhancing quality of life for clients.
The goal of this lymphedema program is to review the lymphatic system anatomy, outline the occupational deficits associated with lymphedema and gain an understanding of treatment options consistent with the “Occupational Therapy Practice Framework.” After studying the information presented here, you will be able to:
- Describe the impact of lymphedema and identify relevant treatments
- Name important structures of the lymphatic system and understand their basic functions
- Discuss the impact of lymphedema and plan occupation-based interventions
Content Level: Introductory
Instructional Method: Online Course — Narrative
Domain of OT: Client Factors
Occupational Therapy Process: Intervention
OnCourse Learning is an approved provider of continuing education for occupational therapists by the American Occupational Therapy Association. AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.
OnCourse Learning is also accredited by the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy (provider # FBN 50-1489).
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Unless stated above, the planners and authors of this course have declared no relevant conflicts of interest that relate to this educational activity. OnCourse Learning guarantees this educational activity is free from bias.
Please see CE Course Instructions to learn how to earn CE credit for this module.
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