At the Lymphedema Center, our team of Certified Lymphedema Therapists (CLTs) treats disorders and issues caused by lymphatic obstruction. The CLTs, who have been extensively trained in the management of lymphedema, provide each patient with a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to his or her individual needs.
Talk with your doctor about a referral to the Lymphedema Center if you experience swelling in the arms, legs, face, or neck due to a disorder of the lymphatic system, a venous insufficiency disorder, or surgery resulting in lymph node removal. It is also important to seek a referral if you experience other issues such as decreased mobility due to tightness or scar tissue or decreased function in your arm(s) or leg(s).
It is not uncommon to develop edema following a surgery that includes removal of lymph nodes. We recommend that patients seek a consult to see a Lymphedema Therapist after any surgery involving lymph node removal, for education in how best to prevent lymphedema.
Lymphedema Treatments We Provide
An AAMC physical therapist certified in lymphedema management will work with you to help develop a customized treatment program to enable you to manage your lymphedema and resume a normal lifestyle. We use the following techniques to help patients regain full function:
Manual lymphatic drainage is a technique that consists of a gentle skin stretch to improve absorption and movement of lymphatic fluid. Patients are educated on self-treatment techniques and encouraged to perform them daily for lymphedema management.
Patients may be wrapped with a series of short stretch bandages that can increase lymphatic flow and decrease lymph volume. Patients and caregivers will also be educated on bandaging. Once swelling has stabilized, patients are fitted for the appropriate compression garment(s).
Patients are fitted with a compression garment(s) in order to manage their lymphedema on a daily basis once the reduction in swelling has plateaued. There are many types of compression garments available. Each patient will be provided with individual recommendations based on their specific needs.
Patients are given a series of exercises to strengthen the muscles, to increase lymphatic circulation, to regain range of motion, and also to provide a gentle skin stretch. Aerobic activity may also be included to increase activity tolerance.
Skin care is particularly important in the prevention of infection and to provide adequate skin hydration. Patients are educated about signs and symptoms of infection and instructed in methods of prevention and lymphedema risk-reduction for maintenance of healthy tissue.
Compression pumps may be used in certain situations to facilitate swelling reduction and promote lymphedema volume reduction for self maintenance. Home pumps are considered for patients who respond well with a decrease in swelling.
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