Shirkey Nursing and Rehabilitation offers Lymphedema Outpatient Services. Staff members are Certified Lymphedema Therapists with experience in the treatment of multiple Lymphedema diagnosis including breast cancer/mastectomy, arm lymphedema, leg lymphadema with and without statis ulcers, and secondary Lymphedema.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a stagnation of lymph fluid which results in swelling in a portion of the body, usually the arm or leg.
Lymphedema is associated with some type of malfunction of the lymphatic system resulting in an obstruction of venous and/or lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes.
What are the types and causes of Lymphedema?
Lymphedema can be classified as Primary or Secondary.
Primarly lymphedema arises from a congenital abnormality of the Lymphatic System. It effects the lower extremities. It can be associated with cancer, infection, inflammation, radiation, surgery or traumatic injury.
Surgical removal of a tumor and the adjacent lymph nodes and vessels can block lymph fluid from flowing naturally through the system.
Lymphedema can occur immediately in the post-surgical period or several years later.
What types of treatment are available?
The combined use of Manual Lymph Drainage Massage, Compression Bandaging, Compression Garments, Exercise and Elevation have been successful in the treatment of Lymphedema.
The patient is instructed in long-term care management with intermittent therapy as needed.
The objectives in treatment are to reduce the swelling and the prepare the patient for a return to normal work, giving them direction to perform duties appropriate to their condition.
Our goal is to facilitate an improvement in the patient’s quality of life and return to a manageable living and working environment.
Why treat Lymphedema?
The important part of the Lymph System is to remove impurities, including protein and bacteria, from the circulatory system and to produce cells of the immune system called Lymphocytes, that are vital in fighting bacteria and viruses.
Early Treatment is Key
The key is early intervention and proper treatment. The patient will benefit from the condition being controlled, which will allow the individual to lead a normal fulfilled life. Lymphedema, however, is often a persistent condition.
Treatment includes instruction of self-management and evaluation and fitting of proper compression garments which are essential factors in control.
Lymphedema, if untreated, results in an abnormal amount of protein fluid collection in the tissues of the extremity. This stagnant, protein rich fluid not only causes tissue to increase in size but also reduces oxygen through the transport system, which interferes with wound healing and provides a culture medium for bacteria that can result in various infections.