What you need to know about Lymphedema and HealthSouth

What you need to know about Lymphedema and HealthSouth

By Cathy L. Joseph, OTR/L, Director of Therapy Operations and Andrea Brennan, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, DAPWCA, HealthSouth Scottsdale Rehabilitation Hospital, Scottsdale LIVING WELL Magazine

Lymphedema is a chronic disorder characterized by persistent swelling in different parts of the body, most often seen in the arms and/or legs due to a breakdown in the lymphatic system. Lymph fluid is composed of protein, bacteria, dead cells, viruses, dust, dyes, and other waste.  The lymphatic system transports this fluid through vessels to the lymph nodes where the fluid is cleansed and filtered before returning to the circulatory system. Primary lymphedema is an inherited condition caused by problems with the development of lymph vessels in the body.    Secondary lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system fails when damaged by trauma, surgery, infection and/or by radiation therapy. This damage to the lymphatic system leads to accumulation of lymphatic fluids, causing swelling, inflammation and disability. Lymphedema is most commonly associated with different cancers. Other conditions that may cause lymphedema include: chronic venous insufficiency, joint replacement surgery, cardiac bypass surgery, diabetes and chronic wounds.

HealthSouth Scottsdale Rehabilitation Hospital is pleased to announce the opening of the Lymphedema Management Program to serve our community. Andrea Brennan, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, DAPWCA, is a national expert in lymphedema management. Her expertise includes oncology rehabilitation, venous disorders, and wound management. Our goal is to be the preferred and most trusted provider of comprehensive lymphedema management through evidence-based practice in the state of Arizona and be a leader in redefining lymphedema care delivery providing quality, innovative care with integrity and respect to the patients it serves. In addition to occupational therapy, we offer physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological services and aquatic therapy.

HealthSouth Scottsdale Rehabilitation Hospital’s outpatient lymphedema management program utilizes complex lymphatic therapy to reduce swelling and maintain reduction via application of safe, reliable and non-invasive techniques. These techniques include: manual lymphatic drainage, compression therapy, therapeutic exercise, skin/wound care, home instruction, elastic taping, and vasopneumatic compression. The goals of our program are to improve quality of life for individuals by enhancing self-esteem and body image, by improving pain management and comfort, by promoting education and responsibility, and by reducing swelling which enables improved performance of daily living skills and to allow for return to work and/or leisure activities.

Lymphedema management program participants must be referred by a physician. If you have lymphedema or know someone who has lymphedema, please call us to inquire about the program and referral procedures by calling 480-551-5436.