Rehab Goal: Reduce swelling to decrease the risk of infection, improve skin condition, and prevent further complications.
Lymphedema happens to an estimated 10-15% of breast cancer survivors, reports the American Cancer Society. In breast cancer lymphedema, water and proteins from the lymph system build up in the soft tissues- usually in the upper extremities. Fortunately, physical therapy can help reduce swelling, improve tissue condition, and remove excess protein from the tissues which helps maintain a normal limb volume.
The Center for Rehabilitation is ideally suited to assist the lymphedema patient:
- We have a Certified Lymphedema Therapist on staff.
- A private lymphedema treatment room for manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging and patient education.
- A therapeutic pool, if needed, to promote lymph movement.
- Large spacious gym for therapeutic exercise.
- Tools for compression garment fitting.
Treatment can include:
- Short-stretch compression bandages to prevent re-accumulation of fluid. Each bandage is custom-fit, and may help re-shape the arm. Patients are taught how to properly wrap the bandage to maintain the results of the treatment.
- Manual lymph drainage is a gentle stimulation of lymph flow just below the skin's surface. This improves the activity of the intact lymph vessels and nodes.
- Therapeutic exercises can increase lymph flow, improve oxygen flow to the tissues, strengthen affected muscles, improve range of motion, decrease scar tissue, and minimize pain.
- Patient education on skin care and careful use of the affected arm as well as fitting for a custom compression garment for lifelong management.
*Kristin Rousseau, PT, DPT, CLT obtained certification in the management of Lymphedema for both upper and lower extremities through the Academy of Lymphatic Studies. She is now a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT). Kristin works at the Center for Rehabilitation on McLaren Bay Region's West Campus.
For more information contact:
Center for Rehabilitation
McLaren Bay Region West Campus
3190 E. Midland Rd.
Bay City, MI 48706
Phone: (989) 667-6600
Fax: (989) 667-6610