What makes our facility unique is that we are primarily dedicated to the treatment of Lymphedema. This means that we can devote our full attention to finding the best possible solutions for patients dealing with this very challenging condition. Our secondary focus is on treating orthopedic and plastic surgery patients in postoperative recovery.
We have a three-fold approach to treating Lymphedema:
This area is designated for cancer patients who have had either lymph node dissection and/or radiation therapy. We believe that patients at risk for Lymphedema can actually prevent an onset by being thoroughly educated about what Lymphedema is and also by following a few elective clinical measures. Unfortunately, cancer patients rarely understand the risk for acquiring Lymphedema and that they can actually take measures towards preventing it. Because patient education is crucial in preventing Lymphedema, we include it as an integral part of our patient evaluation process. We also offer seminars on Lymphedema prevention. For more information please contact us.
Our philosophy on cancer care and the subsequent Risk for Lymphedema is:
"Preservation of Quality-of-Life beyond initial cancer care is important, as is the preservation of life itself."
Treatment for established Lymphedema is called Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT), a process whereby even a severely disfigured limb can be reduced to a near-normal contour. To date, CDT is the primary means by which this result can be achieved. CDT is a four-part intensive treatment protocol consisting of:
1.Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
2. Short-stretch Compression Bandaging
3. Therapeutic exercising
4. Skin and Nail Care.
Each CDT treatment lasts approximately 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the severity of the condition and the number of limbs or regions of the body which are affected. A course of CDT could run for between 5 to 20 (or more) consecutive days.
There are also surgical management options for Lymphedema. The procedure which we have been most involved with is called Autologus Lymph Node Transfer (ALNT). For patients who have had ALNT, maintenance measures such as MLD or the use of compression garments can be greatly reduced, or in some cases, eliminated after some time.
After CDT, it is necessary that patients continue applying compression to their affected limb(s) by wearing custom-fit or ready-to-wear medical grade compression garments. This process typically continues indefinitely, both day and night. However, over time, modifications can be made to this stringent protocol. Even so, we ask patients to observe our suggested initial maintenance protocol for several months following their treatment before any modifications are made. Additionally, patients may also require indefinite maintenance treatment to keep their conditions within manageable parameters. This might mean returning for MLD and bandaging weekly, monthly, or as needed. As such diligent maintenance measures can impact a patient’s Quality-of-Life, we always look for treatment options to serve individual patient needs. The need for Lymphedema Prevention measures becomes evident when we consider the stringent requirements of both the intensive and maintenance phases of treatment.