Lymphedema is a side effect of some cancer surgeries and treatments and can create significant swelling, discomfort and disability. "The lymphatic system transports and filters vital fluids and allows immune cells to travel throughout the body," said Staci Ochoa, physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist at Delta County Memorial Hospital.
Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that is not draining properly and can be caused by removal of lymph nodes or damage to the lymphatic system and is often the result of cancer surgery and radiation therapy.
Lymph nodes are found in the armpit and groin areas where biopsies are frequently taken to determine if a cancer has spread to the lymphatic system. Sometimes lymph nodes are removed in surgery or are damaged by radiation treatment.
"Lymphedema is a chronic disease that usually requires lifelong management," said Ochoa. "In some cases, lymphedema improves with time. However, some swelling can be permanent."
Treatment for lymphedema includes compression (usually with multilayered bandages); manual lymph drainage (MLD); and range of motion exercises.
"Manual lymph drainage is a light massage therapy technique in which the skin is moved in certain directions based on the structure of the lymphatic system," said Ochoa. "This helps the lymph fluid drain through the proper channels."
The lymphedema treatment program is located within the Delta County Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Department. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 874-2250.blog comments powered by Disqus