Complete Lymphedema Therapy
The Lymphedema program at Hendrick Health System is located in the outpatient rehabilitation department at the Hendrick Center for Rehabilitation. The staff is focused solely on the treatment of lymphedema and related disorders. The staff member has received certification training in the treatment of this specialized condition with Klose training. This 135-hour training course meets requirements from the Lymphedema Association of North America.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a chronic, progressive disorder of the lymphatic system which can cause areas of the body to swell. It can occur anywhere in the body, but it usually occurs in the arms or legs.
What causes Lymphedema?
It can be triggered by the removal or radiation of lymph vessels/nodes. It may also occur following surgery or treatment of breasts, cervical, prostate, uterine or colon cancer. Some people are born with this disorder. Certain injuries or surgical procedures can also be a cause of lymphedema. It can also increase the risk for infection, leading to more complicated medical conditions. Lymphedema is not just a cancer-related diagnosis.
Types of Lymphedema
Should Lymphedema be treated?
If left untreated, the swelling can progressively increase, which can lead to other problems such as skin changes, skin breakdown, and infection. This can also lead to loss of motion and strength, which can impair functional independence. If you have been diagnosed with lymphedema or have risk factors for the disorder, it is necessary that you learn about the disease and how to manage it.
- Primary lymphedema can appear at birth, at the onset of puberty, or during mid-adult years.
- Secondary lymphedema can be caused by a surgical dissection of lymph nodes for breast, gynecological, prostate, melanoma or head and neck cancers; radiation therapy; trauma; infections; obesity; or venous insufficiency.
- Surgery that includes lymph node removal and/or radiation
- Some types of cancer
- Physical trauma or orthopedic surgeries
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Genetic history of swollen limbs
What can therapy do to help?
With early diagnosis and treatment with Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), patients can enjoy productive lives with few complications and restrictions. This is a painless, non-invasive and proven method to reduce swelling.
CDT consists of:
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
- Specialized compression bandages
- Good skin care
- Compression garments
- Patient-specific exercises
- Self Care
- Education of precautions to help prevent lymphedema