Individuals who have had lymph nodes removed during surgery for cancer, such as mastectomy or prostectomy, are at-risk for developing lymphedema-a condition caused by inadequate tissue fluid drainage.
Holy Cross Hospital offers lymphedema patients a comprehensive treatment and management program through its Lymphedema Center, located in the hospital's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department.
The Lymphedema Program aims to reduce the swelling and pain associated with lymphedema and to educate the patient to monitor, maintain, and improve his or her condition throughout his or her lifetime.
Treatment for lymphedema may include the following:
- Skin care: The patient is educated in precautions to protect the skin and avoid infection, in proper use of skin care products, and an individualized skin care program
- Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD): Manual lymphatic drainage is a specific superficial manual technique that facilitates the opening of collateral lymphatic pathways.
- Multi-layer bandaging: Bandaging consists of a technique involving three primary layers of bandages applied to the affected area to facilitate lymph flow.
- Individualized exercise program: Exercise programs are tailored to each patient to enhance lymphatic drainage and also restore strength, flexibility, endurance, and function.
- Patient education: Patients are educated about their condition, the goals and purpose of the treatment regimen, as well as life-long skin care.