What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal or persistent, protein rich edema or swelling caused by obstruction of the lymph system. This swelling can be in the arms, legs, and/or face or neck. Lymphedema is a chronic condition that can be managed with Complete Decongestive Therapy techniques and training.
What causes Lymphedema?
Lymphedema can be present at birth (primary) or develop later in life as a result of poor lymph vessel development. Secondary Lymphedema (acquired) can develop as a result of several incidents such as infection, blood clots, trauma, post-surgical, cancer surgery/treatment, and possibly untreated venous insufficiency progressing into a venous/lymphatic disorder.
How do I know if I have Lymphedema?
You should talk to your physician if you experience sensation of a "full" arm/leg, tightness of skin, persistent swelling, decreased flexibility of your hand/wrist, difficulty fitting into sleeve/pants, jewelry feeling tight, and or recurring infections of the skin.
Is Lymphedema right for me?
Lymphedema Therapy can benefit many diagnoses.
Primary Lymphedema (congenital disorder)
Secondary Lymphedema (acquired-post mastectomy - orthopedic conditions - vascular disorders - chronic wounds or any condition that effects lymph drainage).
How is Lymphedema treated?
There are two phases of Lymphedema treatment. The first phase is called the Reduction Phase. In the reduction phase the emphases is on reducing the swelling / edema using manual lymph drainage, compression wrap technique, and sequential compression pump use. After maximal reduction, we initiate the Maintenance Phase. During the maintenance phase the emphasis is on making the patient or their caregiver the specialist in the self-care and carry over to maintain edema reduction. In this phase the patient will also be referred for a compression garment and home pump (with vendor in-home instruction).
Will my insurance over Lymphedema Therapy?
Medicare and most third party insurances cover Lymphedema therapy. The Women's Cancer Act states that any cancer related Lymphedema must be covered by third party insurance companies.