Lymphedema Services: Expertise and Treatment
Although there is no cure for lymphedema, its symptoms can be alleviated through early treatment. In addition, it can be managed so that an individual can lead a full and normal life.
The Lymphedema Program at Memorial provides a detailed evaluation to determine the appropriate course of treatment and to address lifestyle challenges patients may face.
Lymphedema treatment service options are provided by licensed therapists and focus on improving lymph flow and reducing swelling, as follows:
- Manual lymphatic drainage — Gentle soft-tissue massage of the neck, trunk and the limbs
- Compression bandaging — Non-stretch bandaging to enhance the "muscle pump" action of a limb
- Sequential pumping — Use of a compression device designed specifically for lymphedema
- Therapeutic exercise — Targeted activities to restore strength and flexibility in a limb
Additional Lymphedema treatment services include skin care instruction and guidance on how to prevent reoccurrence. Education also is available to assist patients in managing their condition at home. Family members are encouraged to get involved in all aspects of patient care.
Signs of Lymphedema Include:
- Swelling in the arms, hands, fingers, shoulders, chest or legs
- A full or heavy sensation in the limbs
- Skin tightness
- Decreased flexibility in the hand, wrist or ankle
- Difficulty fitting into clothing in one specific area
- Feeling of tightness with the fit of a ring, watch or bracelet
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
Did You Know?
According to the American Cancer Society, between 15 and 20 percent of breast cancer patients who undergo axillary (underarm) lymph node removal develop lymphedema. It can occur within days, months or even years after surgery.
Is Your Doctor a Memorial Doctor?
To find a physician who is committed to lymphedema treatment services, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.