What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling in a body part due to accumulation of lymph fluid. Swelling occurs, usually in an arm or leg, but can also occur in the face, neck, trunk, pelvis or groin.
Lymphedema is not curable but with proper instructions can be managed effectively to reduce the risk of skin integrity changes, skin breakdown, infection, disfigurement and increased pain. The key is prompt identification and treatment.
At Hutchinson Regional Medical Center our Certified Lymphedema Therapist uses the Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) approach to manage and reduce swelling. Our goal is to get the swelling under control, reduce the damaging effects of edema and to train the individual suffering from lymphedema on an effective lifelong management program.
CDT Therapy includes:
- Meticulous Skin Care - Patients are taught good skin hygiene to help reduce the chance of infection
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MDL) - A specialized manual treatment that facilitates the movement of lymph fluid.
- Compression/Bandaging/Garments - Compression needs for lifelong management are addressed. This can include compression bandaging using short-stretch lymphedema compression bandages to increase the tissue pressure, which aides in the movement of lymph fluid. Compression garments can encompass a variety of different options. Patient specific needs will be assessed for the optimal compression garments that are manageable for the patient.
- Exercise - Exercise helps promote circulation through muscle pumping properties. The patients individual ability will be assessed and a program will be developed to incorporate movement and exercise in a daily schedule.
When the swelling is reduced the therapy focuses on home maintenance.
If Lymphedema signs and symptoms are present, seek medical advice. Hutchinson Regional Medical Center's Outpatient Rehabilitation services can evaluate and treat Lymphedema. A Certified Lymphedema Therapist will evaluate and design an individual treatment plan to meet the patients needs.
Hutchinson Regional Medical Center provides a wide variety of comprehensive health care services including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
For further information about Lymphedema Therapy and other services please talk to your primary care physician or contact our Outpatient Rehab team at 620-665-2104.