The Lymphedema Management Program specializes in evaluating and treating clients with a compromised lymphatic system. Lymphedema occurs when an abnormal build-up of fluid and cellular waste accumulates in a certain area of the body. This most commonly occurs in the arms and legs. Lymphedema may arise from congenital abnormalities (present at birth) or may occur after surgery when lymph nodes are removed or dissected.
Anyone who has experienced a trauma or a disruption to their lymphatic system is at risk for developing lymphedema. People who have had lymph nodes removed, followed by radiation or chemotherapy, have the highest risk of developing lymphedema.
Lymphedema therapy focuses on four main techniques which include education in skin care, compression bandaging, specific exercises, and a specialized massage called manual lymph drainage. These techniques can help reduce the size of an extremity by moving lymph fluid back into the circulatory system. The ultimate goal of therapy is to educate the patient so they can successfully manage their lymphedema independently following treatment.
A referral from a Florida licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant is required.
An evaluation including:
- General and medical history
- Girth measurements
- Range of motion
- Functional independence
- Skin evaluation
Comprehensive treatment including:
- Manual lymph drainage: A specialized form of massage, gentle and precise, which empties the truncal region first, then the affected limb, creating an empty center reservoir where lymph from the limb may flow
- Bandaging: A multi'layered wrapping with low stretch bandages to assist with fluid reduction and to maintain smaller girth
- Exercises: Specific exercises to enhance the movement of lymph and maintain functional independence
- Skin care: Cleanliness, protection and lubrication to maintain skin suppleness and integrity
- Education regarding the lymph system: Causes of lymphedema, protective measures and self'management
- Referral for permanent compression garments: Well-fitting compression sleeve for long'term control once adequate reduction in size of the limb is achieved
For more information, call (850)494-6161.