Lymphedema is defined as a swelling of a body part (usually a limb). It is often caused by insufficient lymph drainage due to damaged or blocked lymphatic vessels. It is a frequent and debilitating symptom in patients who have undergone treatment for breast or prostrate cancer. Lymphedema is a chronic condition that is both physically and emotionally distressing because of the functional impairment, fatigue, cosmetic deformity, pain and discomfort that accompany it.
Occupational therapists specializing in lymphedema provide outpatient treatment to alleviate these symptoms. The focus of treatment is to reduce and control the swelling and to assist patients in adjusting to living with this chronic condition. Treatment involves patient education, including a thorough discussion about the do’s and don’t of caring for lymphedema, skin care, the use of the Reid Sleeve, which is a device used to reduce the swelling, and instruction in compression bandaging. The duration of treatment is determined at the time of evaluation, but is an average of four weeks. To ensure the benefits of the treatment and to maintain the reduction in limb swelling, a compression garment is ordered which is worn daily to prevent the swelling from returning.
Participating in the Lymphedema Program
The lymphedema program is designed for individuals who are experiencing discomfort and reduced mobility due to severe swelling in an extremity. To participate in the program, the patient must obtain a prescription from their doctor, have a Doppler done to rule out any possibility of a blood clot causing the swelling and a note from the doctor stating that there is no sign of infection.
For further information, call 845 786-4730 or 1-888-70-REHAB, ext. 4730