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Lymphedema Therapy Now Available at PCI

February 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Symptoms of lymphedema include swelling of the limbs, heaviness and limitation of movement, repeated infections, skin thickening or hardening, and discomfort. Untreated, lymphedema can lead to fibrosis and interfere with tissue healing.

Lymphedema Therapy Treatment—
The outpatient lymphedema therapy program at Physicians' Clinic of Iowa is a non-invasive approach performed by certified lymphedema therapists. The most widely accepted method of treatment for lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT).

Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)—

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) — MLD is a gentle, hands-on massage of both the affected body part and adjacent selected areas. MLD can move lymph fluid from the swollen region into parts of the lymphatic system that are still functioning. From there, the fluid is transported throughout the circulatory system.
  • Compression Bandaging — After MLD, the treated area is wrapped with layers of compression bandages. Bandages help prevent the reaccumulation of lymphatic fluid.
  • Therapeutic Exercise — Exercise programs with certified physical therapists are designed to strengthen muscles and improve circulation and function of the lymph system. 
  • Skin and Nail Care — Lymphedema patients are at high risk for infection, especially cellulitis. Signs of cellulitis include redness, swelling, pain, and fever. 
  • Compression Garment Fitting — Once the affected body part is decongested, patients are fitted for a medical compression garment, such as an arm sleeve or thigh high. Worn daily, these help maintain the results achieved through treatment.
  • Personalized Education in Self-Care — Our lymphedema specialists teach individuals how to maintain progress through at-home techniques, including self-bandaging, self-massage, exercise, and skin/nail care.

A physician prescription is required for lymphedema therapy.  Generally, patients should expect to be treated 3-5 times a week for 2-8 weeks.

Physicians' Clinic of Iowa has two Certified Lympedema Therapists:
M. Tory Haefner, DPT
Teri M. Rexroth, OTR/L, MOT

Contact Physicians' Clinic of Iowa—Physical & Occupational Therapy at (319) 398-1506.

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