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Lymphedema Center

Lymphedema therapy can help anyone with any time of swell due to cancer, infection, trauma, or mastectomy. Even patients with the most challenging problems see a quick reduction of chronic swelling and improved quality of life.
Complete Decongestive Therapy

Skin Care

Meticulous skin and nail care, including the eradication of infection.
Manual Lymph Drainage(MLD)

A manual treatment technique that stimulates lymph vessels to contract more frequently and that channels lymph and edema fluid towards adjacent, functioning lymph systems. MLD begins with stimulation of the lymph vessels and nodes in the adjacent basins (neck, contralateral/ipsilateral axilla and/or groin), which is followed by manual decongestion, in segmental order, of the involved trunk, upper part, lower part of the extremity, wrist(ankle) and hand(foot). Edema fluid and obstructed lymphatics are manually made to drain towards the venous angle, toward functioning lymph basins across the mid-line of the body, down toward the groin, over the top of the shoulder, around the back and so forth.
Compression Bandaging

Applied immediately after MLD. Bandages are applied from the distal to the proximal aspect of the extremity with maximal pressure distally and minimal pressure proximally. This is done by using several layers of cotton bandages or foam materials to ensure uniform pressure distribution or to increase pressure in areas that are particularly fibrotic. The bandages do not constrict blood flow, but increase interstitial pressure. This prevents any reaccumulation of excavated edema fluid and also prevents the filtration of additional fluid into the interstitial space.
Therapeutic Exercises

The bandaged patient is next guided through a series of decongestive exercises with the muscles and joints functioning within a close space. The exercises increase lymph flow in all available lymph channels and in collateral pathways that are used to make the passage to the venous angle.

This should reduce his/her swelling and stabilize his/her condition. Without this therapy, his/her swelling can be expected to progress and lead to complications. The patient will also be instructed in a home maintenance program so that he/she can continue treatment on his/her own at home.
DO's and DONT'S

Your Lymphedema therapist will explain to you in detail how to avoid infections and other conditions, which could lead to a worsening of your Lymphedema. Listed below are just a few general guidlines:

Avoid any injuries to the skin

Be careful working in the garden, playing with your pets or doing housework. Avoid the use of scissors to cut your nails and don't cut your cuticles. Injuries, even small ones may cause infections.
Avoid Mosquito Bites

Wear insect repellents when outdoors. A single mosquito bite can cause infection.
Use caution when exercising

Avoid movements that overstrain, discuss proper exercises and activities with your therapist.
Avoid Heat

Very hot showers, hot pack on your extremity, sunbathing and the use of saunas could have a negative effect on your Lymphedema. Avoid extreme change in temperature (hot/cold), massages ("Swedish") on your affected extremity or any cosmetics that irritate the skin.
Inform all health care personnel that you have Lymphedema

Injections or acupuncture in your affected extremity should be avoided. Blood pressure should be taken on the extremity free of Lymphedema.
Nutrition is important

There is no special diet for Lymphedema. Today most nutritionists recommend a low salt low fat diet. Obesity may have a negative effect on your swelling.

Avoid mosquito-infected areas; when traveling by airplane apply an additional bandage on top of your garment.

Avoid mosquito-infected areas; when traveling by airplane apply an additional bandage on top of your garment.
See your physician

If you have any signs of infection (fever, chills, red and hot skin), fungal infections or if you notice any other unusual changes that may be related to your Lymphedema.
General Tips

Always wear your compression garments during the day and if necessary your bandages at night; elevate you extremity as often as possible during the daytime; perform your exercises daily and always consult your doctor or therapist should you have any questions about your Lymphedema.

* You should see a physical therapist when: you have suffered an injury--to decrease pain and restore movement and function.

* Ask your Doctor for a referral to physical therapy.

* After surgery--to restore strength, range of motion, balance and function.

* If your illness or injury interferes with your daily normal tasks and your ability to function or if your child has had birth defects before accidents or injuries occur to prevent difficulties in the future.
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