Lymphedema Treatment & Management
Effective, Caring Treatment
At Community Healthcare System hospitals, you can take comfort in knowing our certified lymphedema therapists (CLTs) are trained in techniques to treat upper and lower extremity lymphedema in an empathetic, skilled and caring way.
Lymphedema is a condition that occurs from swelling in an extremity -- most often an arm or leg -- due to damage or impairment in the lymphatic system. Swelling is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the tissues.
All of our lymphedema clinic therapists are graduates of accredited therapy programs. And a Lymphedema Clinic therapist at Community Hospital has advanced level Lymphology Association of North America (LANA) certification to treat swelling conditions in the head, neck and other body areas with standardized methods that are endorsed by the National Lymphedema Network.
Together, we help get lymphedema under control and teach you how to manage it in a way that gets your lifestyle back through the following methods:
- Skin care
- Manual lymphatic drainage
- Therapeutic exercise
- Education on in-home techniques
If you are diagnosed with chronic lymphedema, our team works diligently to manage the effects of the swelling. During therapy, the lymphs are massaged to remove fluid. You'll learn exercises to ease discomfort and find out about ways to protect the skin to prevent infection. You may be fitted with a compression garment.
Generally, a physician’s prescription is needed to receive services covered by insurance.
New Therapy Tool Progress
Therapists and lymphedema specialists at Community Hospital in 2014 began to use a new measurement tool called a Perometer ® to make a significant difference in the quality of life for those who struggle with lymphedema.
The perometer is a computerized, digital scanner that quickly and accurately measures the size and volume of a patient’s limbs. An infrared light scans the limb to incrementally measure girth. Limb volume is calculated to detect the slightest change in swelling. Quick and accurate measurements leave time for therapy and self-management education. It ensures a better fit for compression garments you may need to wear to reduce swelling and get your lymphedema under control.
An alternative to simple tape measurements and water displacement tests, the perometer can identify the presence of lymphedema at the earliest stages so intervention can begin in a timely manner to reduce any negative effects of prolonged edema in the affected limb. If diagnosed at 3 percent progression, immediate treatment can reverse the process, health studies note.
Beyond Lymphedema Treatment
If you do not have swelling, but are at risk for lymphedema, a one-time educational session is available through Community Healthcare System to teach exercise techniques and offer tips that are individualized to your unique lifestyle.
Our lymphedema-certified specialists also offer free classes and support groups throughout the year:
- A lymphedema class at St. Mary Medical Center provides hope and encouragement for people suffering from this chronic condition.
- Special sessions for the Breast Cancer Support Group are led at the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster and at Women’s Health events by the Lymphedema Clinic team at Community Hospital.
- A Lymphedema Support Group, open to those affected by lymphedema or others seeking information on the condition, meets quarterly at St. Mary Medical Center.
The classes help you recognize early warning signs of lymphedema to improve swelling dramatically. You’ll learn the importance of proper eating, sleeping and hydration habits, massage, and exercise techniques to keep fluids moving through the lymphatic system.
Lymphedema Clinic Locations:
901 MacArthur Blvd, Munster
M-F 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
St. Catherine Hospital Wound Ostomy Clinic
4321 Fir St, East Chicago
M, W, F 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Th 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Outpatient Rehabilitation of St. Mary Medical Center
320 W. 61st St, Hobart
M-Th 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
St. Mary Medical Center Valparaiso Health Center
3800 St. Mary Dr, Valparaiso
M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
To learn more about Outpatient Therapy Services, visit our Therapy Services page.