Lymphedema TherapyLymphedema is a disease that normally causes swelling in one or more limbs; the disease may also affect the head, neck, or trunk of the body. It may be the result of a birth defect; however, it is most commonly the result of surgery and/or radiation treatments for cancer, trauma, or infection. A cure for lymphedema is not currently available, but treatment can significantly improve the condition.
Benefits of lymphedema treatment:
- Decreased risk/incidence of infection.
- Decreased risk for disease progression.
- Decreased risk for the formation of connective and scar tissue in the affected areas.
- Improved extremity function for increased ease with activities of daily living, work, and leisure.
- Improved self-esteem.
The four basic steps in lymphedema treatment include:
- Manual lymphatic drainage: a type of massage designed to increase lymph flow from the affected area in order to maximize lymphatic connections.
- Bandaging: a treatment providing a pressure gradient to continue the outflow of lymph and prevent the reaccumulation of fluid.
- Exercising: programs designed to maximize the effects of bandaging.
- Training: education on meticulous skin care in an attempt to prevent infection.
Patients receive education on compression garments, which are custom fit by the therapists.
The Sanford Hospital Luverne Rehabilitation Services Department is staffed by one of the most experienced rehabilitative teams in the area. Our therapists are held to the highest ethical standards, as they are all members of national professional organizations. The rehab team includes: seven physical therapists, two physical therapy assistants, four occupational therapists, one speech language pathologist, three massage therapists, and four rehabilitation aides.
Rehabilitation Services are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays for inpatients. To schedule an appointment, please call SHL at (507) 283-2321, or the department directly at (507) 449-1229.