Lymphedema Management Program
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See Lymphedema information from the National Cancer Institute
Lymph Node Surgery
for Breast Cancer at Fox Chase
The Lymphedema Management Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center is the only hospital-based program in the Philadelphia area using a unique combination of the Dr. Vodder Method of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and the Lymphedema Association of Australia's method of Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP), both well-respected treatment regimens.
Causes of lymphedema
Lymphedema can result from an infection that interrupts normal lymphatic pathway function; a traumatic injury to the lymph nodes; surgery or radiation therapy for breast cancer or removal of inguinal nodes for cancer, or idiopathic causes. It is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of tissue proteins, fluid, and inflammation within the involved extremity.
Complications include persistent swelling in an extremity; bacterial infection due to stagnant lymph fluid; pain; weakness; and numbness that can lead to loss of range of motion of the joints in an extremity.
Treating for patients with lymphedema
Through Fox Chase Cancer Center's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, a board-certified physiatrist and a licensed physical therapist will provide each patient with a full evaluation. The program includes diagnosing and treating lymphedema and its associated conditions during the acute, subacute and/or chronic phases.
Each patient receives an individualized rehabilitation program to prevent further progression of lymphedema, including skin care; a gentle distal-to-proximal lymphatic massage focusing on connective tissue; compression bandaging; and antibiotic drug therapy if applicable. The patient's primary care physician will receive continuous progress reports regarding the patient's condition.
For more information, call the Rehabilitation Department at 215-728-2592.