Lymphedema Treatment

Moffitt Cancer Center offers support to help patients manage the chronic tissue swelling that sometimes accompanies cancer and its treatment. This encompasses lymphedema prevention, screening, physical therapy interventions, as well as surgical treatment options. As a high-volume cancer center with a specialized lymphedema program, Moffitt is trusted by referring providers nationwide. Our advanced programs accept patients who have an elevated risk of developing lymphedema as a result of their cancer treatment, as well as those who are experiencing symptoms and require further evaluation and lymphatic imaging.

Lymphedema is progressive and early diagnosis leads to more effective treatment. Screening is available at Moffitt using bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS), which passes a small painless electrical current through the limb to analyze the composition of fluid compartments. This lymphedema index measurement system (L-Dex) aids in the clinical assessment of lymphedema of the arm and leg, most notably for high-risk patients and early post-op monitoring.

Therapeutic Options

As part of our Rehab Services Department, sub-specialized licensed clinicians develop highly individualized compressive decongestive therapy (CDT) plans that are overseen by a certified lymphedema therapist. Interventions may include exercise, manual lymphatic drainage, skin care, multilayer bandaging, compression garments, pneumatic compressive devices and/or extremity elevation.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Dr. Nicholas J. Panetta has established USF Health and Moffitt Cancer Center’s comprehensive program in the surgical management of lymphedema, performing microsurgical procedures to treat cancer related lymphedema. 

Moffitt’s comprehensive Lymphedema Multidisciplinary Clinic specializes in the surgical management of lymphedema in the extremities, which often affects patients who are receiving treatment for melanomas, sarcomas, gynecologic and breast tumors. Our surgeons are skilled and experienced in performing cutting-edge microsurgical procedures to treat cancer-related lymphedema, some of which are not available elsewhere in our local area. These treatments include: 

  • Lymphovenous anastomosis surgery (LVA)
  • Vascularized lymph node transfer
  • Suction-assisted lipectomy

Through the Lymphedema Multidisciplinary Clinic patients gain convenient access to therapeutic assessment, nutrition counseling, and a surgical consult as appropriate. We emphasize comprehensive lymphedema treatment, which may involve CDT before, after or instead of surgery. Our surgical experts work in tandem with the therapeutic team.

As a recognized leader in lymphedema treatment, Moffitt helps many patients find relief from inflammation, limb heaviness, decreased mobility and other complications of cancer treatment. We are committed to helping each patient achieve the best possible outcome and quality of life.

If you’d like to refer a patient for lymphedema treatment or screening at Moffitt Cancer Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or contact a physician liaison for assistance.