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Lymphedema Therapy

Lymphedema is a condition that while not curable, is treatable.  It is defined as the accumulation of fluid that causes swelling in the body.  Most often, this occurs in the arms and legs.  Sometimes a condition present at birth, lymphedema frequently occurs as a result of surgery and treatment for cancer.  Infections or trauma to the lymph system can also cause lymphedema.  Lymphedema

Treatment of lymphedema consists of manual lymph drainage, compression therapy, exercises and skin care, collectively known as decongestive therapy.  In addition to decongestive therapy, healthcare providers often prescribe medications to eliminate fluid (diuretics).

Manual lymph drainage is a form of gentle massage to reduce the collection of fluid, returning it to the lymphatic system.  This treatment returns the limb to a nearly normal appearance.

Compression therapy begins with the application of elastic bandages.  Because lymphedema destroys the elasticity of the skin, the bandages externally provide the lost elastic compression.

This therapy is used in conjunction with manual lymph drainage.  The patient wears the bandages between the manual drainage sessions.  Once the swelling in the affected limb is reduced to normal or near normal size, the patient is fitted with a compression garment to be worn during the day.

Exercises are prescribed and individualized for each patient.  The physical therapy staff instructs the patient on proper exercise performance to maximize results.

Skin care is especially important to the patient undergoing lymphedema therapy.  Patients with lymphedema often experience dry skin which becomes prone to cracks and infections.  The therapist will review the importance of skin care and the use of a low pH lotion.    

The professional staff members at Valley Health Services are experienced in the treatment of lymphedema and are certified to manage and treat the condition throughout all stages.

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Contact Information: (315) 866-3330 x2223