Lymphedema Services

Lymphedema Management

Complete lymphedema therapy is now available for upper or lower extremity swelling that doesn't go away. Specially trained physical therapists, certified by the Academy of Lymphatic Studies, provide this treatment.

If you think this program may benefit you, discuss it with your healthcare provider or surgeon. For more information about Valley Medical Center's Lymphedema Management program, call the Hand Therapy Clinic at 425.656.4049.

Lymphedema is a chronic condition characterized by swelling and fluid accumulation in any part of the body (arm, leg, trunk, face).  It is a mechanical problem of the lymphatic system.  Your lymphatic system controls the fluid balance in nearly every part of your body, and also assists in fighting infection.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Heaviness
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Stiffness
  • Tight clothing or jewelry

Causes:

  • Surgery -- especially in areas with many lymph nodes and vessels
  • Trauma
  • Radiation
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Heredity

NOTE:  Because there are other kinds of swelling problems that are not lymphedema, your physician needs to diagnose the condition.

Treatment

If you discover you have lymphedema, the rehabilitation team at Valley Medical Center can help you manage the condition.  An internationally recognized approach, called Complex Decongestive Therapy, is used to control the swelling, stiffness, and discomfort. It consists of the following treatments:

  • Manual lymph drainage to stimulate and redirect lymph flow through specialized massage
  • Compression with bandaging, garments, and occasionally pumps
  • Exercise to improve motion and strength and move fluid more efficiently
  • Skin care to maintain healthy tissue and prevent infection

Skilled therapists with specialized training, including  a LANA certified therapist, provide individualized care.  Education is very important so that you learn how to manage your lymphedema independently.  We also encourage you to bring a family member or friend to your treatment sessions to learn how to assist you as needed.

To make an appointment:

A referral from your healthcare provider is needed for treatment and payment by your insurance. Talk about your concerns with your provider and ask for a therapy referral.  The Rehabilitation Department is located in the Northwest Pavilion of the hospital.  To schedule an appointment, call 425.251.5165.