Lymphedema Care for Women
What is Lymphedema?
Chronic swelling, known as lymphedema, is often found in the arms and legs following removal of or radiation injury to nearby lymph nodes. Lymphedema can be present in various areas of the body for a number of reasons, but it especially affects individuals who have been treated for breast cancer. This build-up of protein-rich lymph fluid may also be caused by venous insufficiency or a genetic condition in children and young adults.
Once diagnosed with lymphedema, successful long-term management is essential. You can rely on the skilled experts at Palos Hospital to help. Our Certified Lymphedema Therapists will help you learn the proper care and treatment to control swelling, effectively manage pain, decrease the likelihood of infection and improve your function in day-to-day activities.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
You may be at risk for developing lymphedema immediately following treatments or even many years later. Talk to your doctor and ask for a referral to the lymphedema program at Palos if you experience any of the following symptoms in the affected limb:
- Discomfort, heaviness or achiness
- Progressively increased size
- Increased warmth
- Difficulty fitting into clothing
- Red patches on the skin
- Changes that happen either slowly or quickly
Comprehensive Lymphedema Program at Palos
Choose the lymphedema program at Palos for comprehensive care. Our physical and occupational therapists are certified in the preferred method of lymphedema management, a non-invasive process known as Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which aims to reduce swelling and restore tissue softness. You and your family will also receive the important education you need to help you manage the condition for the long term. Additional program elements may include:
- Evaluation by a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT)
- Manual lymphatic drainage, a special technique where lymph fluid is manually assisted to another area of the body for drainage
- Recommendations for compression bandaging/garments
- Skin care
- Therapeutic exercises
- Support in independence/home program
- Customized home-care program
Palos Lymphedema Support Group
Every three months, the Palos Lymphedema Support Group offers individuals with lymphedema and their family members a chance to meet and learn from others who have the condition. You’ll get updates on lymphedema care products and services, discover community resources and learn about effective management strategies. For information and dates of upcoming meetings, call 708.226.2300.
Ask your doctor for a referral to the lymphedema program at Palos Hospital. We’ll provide your physician with regular reports while you’re in our care.
If you already work with our physical therapists, you can schedule an appointment for lymphedema care by calling 708.923.5050.