HealthSouth Scottsdale Rehabilitation Hospital offers a Lymphedema Clinic staffed by certified lymphedema therapists by the Lymphology Association of North American who have extensive expertise in assessment, manual lymphatic drainage, oncology rehabilitation, compression therapy and wound care. These specialists provide evaluationS and treatment plans tailored to specific needs. Furthermore, our Lymphedema Clinic is a National Lymphedema Network-sponsored facility.
Becoming a Patient
Anyone may contact the Lymphedema Clinic for information and assistance. However, because lymphedema therapy is a medical treatment, a referral from your physician is required to initiate treatment. If you believe the center can help you, please contact your physician for a referral.
The Lymphedema Clinic at HealthSouth Scottsdale employs a safe and effective method of treatment known as decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT). DLT is the gold standard for lymphedema treatment. The highly specialized treatment plan is designed for the patient after the initial evaluation. The plan may include components outlined here.
Lymphedema management services are appropriate for patients with swelling of face, head, neck, chest, back, breast, upper and lower extremity, abdomen, and the groin. The lymphedema may be primary or as a consequence of tumor, surgery, radiation, obesity, trauma, infection, connective tissue or vascular disorder. Many patients who are at risk for lymphedema or have swelling for other reasons visit the Lymphedema Clinic for consultation regarding prevention, appropriate diagnosis and triage.
Manual lymph drainage The goal of specialized therapeutic manual technique is to improve the transport capacity of the lymphatic system and to redirect the fluid to areas where it can be reabsorbed. The lymph vessel system is a drainage system. There are specific directions of lymph fluid flow the therapist promotes with manual stroke sequences that depend on the severity and location of the swelling. The therapists also, at times, address the concurrent presence of tumor, mass, injury, scar or other impediments.
Compression bandaging Low stretch bandages, foam and special padding are applied to the affected areas to help dissipate fluid and to soften hardened tissues.
Therapeutic exercise Exercise is a critical component to decongestive lymphatic therapy. Fluid mobilizing exercises are performed and taught to promote lymphatic flow, and can be tailored to individual physical abilities. Patients with all levels of mobility are addressed. The rehabilitation gym is dedicated to the needs of our patients. There is up-to-date equipment not only for the use of patients with swelling but also those with bariatric, oncology or orthopedic exercise needs.
For a number of patients, range of motion and stiffness is a result of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and periods of immobility. The therapist creates a plan that addresses a safe approach to recover flexibility and mobility. Other patients have decreased strength; stamina and goals for these areas are also outlined.
Scar Management Fibrosis that is visible (scar) or internal (adhesions) can interfere with lymphatic flow and can result in pain, swelling, infection and limitation to motion. The scars can be hypertrophic and unsightly. Therapist's can employ techniques to soften scars, ease fibrosis and minimize symptoms. This results in greatly improved mobility and enhanced function.
Function Enhancing the activities of daily living (ADL) are critical to the quality of life to the patient. Improving the ability to care for oneself is addressed to promote the patient and caregiver's independence in the safe management of the lymphedema.
Education The patient and caregiver learn new skills and are provided with tools to properly manage the condition. Prevention of progression and loss of function are emphasized. These steps include issues of concurrent disorders, nutrition, ADL's (activities of daily living), exercise, wounds, skin infections, medications, garments and travel.
Wounds and Infections Lymphedema patients are at higher risk for the development of wounds and skin infections (cellulitis). A wound often needs specialized care before lymphedema treatment can begin. Some wounds heal only if the lymphedema is managed and reduced concurrently. Cellulitis is a common disorder often requiring hospitalization in lymphedema patients. Early recognition and treatment usually prevent these hospitalizations.
Skin and nail care Meticulous skin care is provided and taught to the patient to prevent bacterial and fungal infections. Careful management of skin and nails is necessary and can be done by the patient, caregiver or podiatrist.
Garments For those who require using gradient compression garments (sleeves, stockings, or face and neck band), these are carefully measured for and prescribed. The responsibility in Phase II is on the patient or caregiver to wear the compression garments as prescribed, which often is daily.
Gradient Compression Pumps
Part of lymphedema management sometimes includes the use of a gradient compression pump. This is a tool used in addition to reduce lymphedema, but not as the primary treatment. It is the responsibility of the team to recommend the type of pump appropriate for the patient.