Services at Banner Desert Medical Center  

Lymphedema Treatment Program

Lymphedema treatment at Banner Desert  

Banner Desert Medical Center offers a comprehensive lymphedema treatment program through our Rehabilitation department. Our licensed health care providers are Vodder-certified Manual Lymph Drainage therapists. 

What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is chronic swelling in a portion of the body (usually an arm or a leg) due to accumulation of lymph fluid (protein and water) in the tissue spaces as a result of obstruction of edema and/or lymphatic vessels for lymph nodes.

Lymphedema, if left untreated, creates an environment of stagnant, protein-rich fluid. It interferes with wound healing, and provides an environment for bacteria, increasing the potential for infection. If the condition of swelling and inflammation persists, the tissue eventually thickens and becomes fibrotic (hardened). This leads to decreased active motion, which can intensify the problem.

Types of lymphedema
There are two types of lymphedema: Primary lymphedema may be congenital or occur at any age for no known reason. Secondary lymphedema is more common and can occur after surgical removal of lymph node or other obstructive factors including scaring from infection or radiation therapy.

Can lymphedema be cured?
With early intervention and proper treatment, the condition can be controlled, allowing the individual to lead a full and normal life. However, this is frequently a persistent condition; therefore, techniques for self management and maintenance of swelling reduction and other side effects are essential factors in control.

Comprehensive treatment program
A comprehensive, researched-based treatment approach individualized to meet the patient's needs has proven most effective. A typical treatment program may include any or all of the following:

  • Evaluation to determine the proper course of treatment for this potentially serious consequence of breast cancer and its treatment.
  • Manual lymph drainage massage to release protein molecules from the tissue and move them along with the excess fluid into the lymphatic capillaries and out of the limb with a noninvasive, technical, therapy technique.
  • Compression bandaging of the limb to provide a firm external non-elastic support to tissue, which acts as a counter force to muscle contraction and, thus, promote lymphatic pumping during even the slightest muscle contraction.
  • Comprehensive fitness program, including flexibility, strengthening and aerobic activities to enhance the lymph drainage.
  • Lymphedema education: Review key points for good health while living with lymphedema.

Who is a candidate for treatment?

  • Individuals with congenital lymphedema.
  • Individuals with lymphedema from trauma, surgery or cancer treatment (especially if lymph nodes have been removed)

MA physician's referral is required to initiate treatment and our staff is available to assist you in this process. We accept all major insurance contracts. For further information, please contact (480) 412-4101 or email us.

Banner Desert Medical Center
1400 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
(480) 412-3000
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