How do I know if I have lymphedema?
Lymphedema is characterized by a high protein content which makes it different than other swelling. It can be pitting or cause the arm/leg skin to become tough.
It can happen at anytime after surgeries that cause damage to the lymph system such as sentinel node biopsy, axillary node dissection or radiation.
Sometimes the swelling comes and goes and this is known as the reversible phase.
If treatment is sought during this phase, an individual may be able to prevent the progression into lymphedema.
Do I have to do anything during my treatment?
Treatment for lymphedema requires that all patients become active participants.
You will be required to place yourself in compression wraps or garments and demonstrate the ability to
continue with self care and self management.
If you are unable to do this yourself, it will be important to bring someone with you to 1-2 sessions who will be able to assist you and learn the proper compression/massage technique.
It is also crucial to increase activity level to maximize the benefits of the compression and help control the swelling.
Who is at risk for developing lymphedema?
Individuals who have had cancer surgery that involves removal of lymph nodes and / or radiation for:
- Breast cancer,
- Head and neck cancer,
- Uterine, abdominal, etc.
Severe venous insufficiency,
Chronic cellulitis infections,
History of DVT or prior vascular surgeries,
How do I make an appointment?
Your healthcare provider can call our office with a referral and our office will call to schedule the initial visit.
You may also call our office directly if your healthcare provider has already provided you with a written referral.
Phone: (603) 743-8790 or fax (207) 703-0199.
What can I expect on my first visit?
Will my insurance cover the cost of the treatment and necessary compression garments?
Yes, insurance companies will cover the cost of treatment, but are limited to your policy’s physical/occupational therapy coverage.
Compression garments/supplies are NOT always covered by your policy.
Our office will check on insurance coverage prior to ordering any garments so there are no surprises.
The first visit is called the evaluation at which time the treating therapist will document all pertinent medical history and gather information regarding your condition.
It typically lasts for 1 hour and involves measurements (so easily accessible clothing is best), range of motion, and touching and assessing the tissue.
The therapist will provide lymphedema education, discuss treatment options and develop a plan that will work for both you and your family.
If time allows, a short treatment session will be performed.
Frequently Asked Questions