Lymphedema Therapy

Reduce pain and swelling with lymphedema treatment

A physical rehabilitation therapist presses into a patient’s back with her hands, representing lymphedema therapy.

Reduce pain and swelling with lymphedema treatment

Certified lymphedema treatment therapists at Scripps Health offer care at several locations in San Diego. Collaborating with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure a comprehensive approach, they develop customized lymphedema treatment plans to help people with lymphedema alleviate pain, reduce swelling, lower the risk of infection and learn self-management techniques.

Lymphedema treatment

Lymphedema is the collection of fluids in a part of the body that can cause swelling pressure and pain. To help alleviate swelling and reduce discomfort, the therapists develop care plans for complete decongestive lymphedema therapy that include:


  • Manual lymphatic drainage
  • Multi-layered bandaging
  • Compression therapy
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Education to prevent complications and further occurrences
  • Skin care and hygiene recommendations


While a cure for lymphedema does not exist, proper care can improve the condition and dramatically affect a person’s quality of life.


A referral from a physician is required to begin the evaluation and lymphedema treatment process.

Surgical options for lymphedema

Physical therapy is the first line of treatment for lymphedema. If these treatments do not help, surgical procedures are available to help manage and alleviate the discomfort associated with lymphedema.


Lymphaticoveous bypass and vascularized lymph node transfers are procedures to help reduce swelling and risk of infection.


  • Lymphaticovenous bypass — Using a microscope, surgeons use very small, precision instruments to connect blocked lymphatic vessels to a nearby vein. The bypass allows lymph fluid to flow more freely.


  • Vascularized lymph node transfer — Healthy lymph nodes with a rich blood supply are microsurgically transplanted to an area of injury to help rebuild lymphatic connections.

Lymphedema classes

For additional information, we invite you to attend one of our lymphedema educational classes. The class is held on the second Tuesday of every month in La Jolla. Presented by a lymphedema certified physical therapist, the class includes information on lymphedema treatment, exercises, risk reduction and more. View the lymphedema class flyer (PDF, 61 KB) for dates and registration details.

Lymphedema therapy locations

Lymphedema treatment and therapy is offered at the following Scripps Health locations in San Diego County: