Lymphedema Treatment with LANA Certified Lymphedema Therapists
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a condition that usually occurs after mastectomies, lumpectomy, radiation treatments, lymph node removal, and surgeries. It most often develops in one arm or leg, but may present in both arms and both legs. It may also occur in the hands or feet, and even in the chest, back, neck, face, abdomen, and genitals.
Are there different types of Lymphedema?
There are two types of Lymphedema.
Caused by malformations of the lymphatic system. These malformations are most common in women. Symptoms may be present at birth or may develop later, often during puberty or pregnancy. Primary lymphedema is most common in the legs, but may also occur in the arms or torso.
A result of damage to the lymphatic system. Surgical procedures such as mastectomies, lumpectomies are the most common causes. Secondary lymphedema occurs most commonly in the arms, but may also develop in the legs. Other causes may include a traumatic injury, infection, or severe chronic venous insufficiency.
What is the Treatment for Lymphedema? How Can Lymphedema Therapy Help?
Once the diagnosis of lymphedema is confirmed, certain treatment procedures are indicated. Since there is no cure for lymphedema, the goals of treatment is to reduce swelling and to maintain reduction. For a majority of patients, this can be achieved by the skillful application of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) which is safe, reliable, and noninvasive. It is proven to provide positive longterm results for both primary and secondary lymphedema. CDT is performed by specially trained therapists. The treatment consists of four components:.
Your LANA certified physical therapist will employ the following interventions for CDT:
- Manual Lymph Drainage - necessary to manage fluid volume of the affected extremity to a normal or near normal size. Bandages are used in phase 1 and compression garments in phase 2.
- Graduated Compression Garments or bandages - Graduated compression garments are necessary to maintain the reduced limb and are designed to replace the bandages that were used earlier in treatment. They are worn during the day while you are ctive. At night when you sleep, bandages or night garments are usually worn. The compression garments help to keep the swelling down, improve circulation, and prevent thereaccumulation of lymph fluid in the area. The garments must be worn every day, for life.
- Meticulous Skin Care - The skin is usually dry and may crack easily, making it very susceptible to infections. Allow pH lotion, free of alcohol and fragrances should be used to maintain the moisture of the skin and to protect it. If an injection develops, consult your physician immediately!
- Therapeutic Exercises - A skilled therapist may recommend an exercise program that is suited for your particular need and ability. An effective decongestive exercise program aids the muscular system to move lymph fluid out of the affected area. Any exercise that causes pain or muscle soreness should be discussed with a therapist. moderate exercise such as swimming, walking, biking, light weight training and yoga are recommended. Overly aggressive sports that may cause injury should be avoided. Consult your physician before beginning any program.
What is LANA?
LANA is the Lymphology Association of North America.The Lymphology Association of North America (LANA) is a nonprofit corporation comprised of healthcare professionals experienced in the management of lymphedema. Having recognized the need for a national certification examination for lymphedema therapists, LANA tests knowledge considered fundamental in the treatment of lymphedema.
What is a LANA-certified Physical Therapist and what separates them from other lymphedema therapists?
A LANA certified Physical Therapist is a therapist that is nationally recognized from the Lymphology Association of North America. The therapist has a specialty that requires advanced training and has taken and passed a challenging examination which upholds a high level of competency among practitioners. The therapist will provide a basis from which insurance companies can establish more consistent reimbursement guidelines for Medicare and other US health insurance providers. In addition, credibility is gained through the North American medical establishment. The ultimate goal is to protect patients by assuring a high quality of care.