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Lymphedema Rehabilitation
(offered at Smyth County Community Hospital & Johnston Memorial Hospital)

What is lymphedema?

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system, which carries blood and fluids to the lymph nodes to be cleansed and returned for recirculation throughout all parts of the body.
The system plays an important role in the body’s ability to fight disease. Lymphedema occurs when there’s a blockage in the lymphatic system, causing fluid to build up in surrounding tissue.

What causes lymphedema?

There are two types of lymphedema. The first, called Primary, may be inherited and can occur at any age for no apparent reason. Secondary is the more common type and generally occurs following surgical removal of lymph nodes or from scarring as a result of infection or radiation therapy. However, not all swelling is lymphedema.

Why should it be treated?

If left untreated, lymphedema creates swollen limbs and other body parts and can lead to infection, loss of motion and skin problems.
If swelling presses on nearby nerves, the condition can be quite painful.

Can it be cured?

Lymphedema can be controlled with treatment, allowing you to lead a normal life. However, it is often a persistent, long-term condition, therefore, techniques for self-management and maintenance of swelling reduction and other side effects are essential factors to control the lymphedema.

What are the signs?

Symptoms of lymphedema include swelling or “heat” sensation on the same side of your body as your surgery or injury; an increase in the size or feeling of heat in the limb; a sensation of bursting in the limb; loss of range of motion; and inability to wear your regular clothes or jewelry due to increased size of your limbs or other body parts.

What treatment options are available?

A thorough evaluation is conducted to determine the best treatment option for you, which may include any or all of the following:
Manual lymph treatment to drain fluid from the arm, using a non-invasive technique
Compression bandaging to reduce fluid in swollen tissues
Special pumping to reduce swelling,
if needed.
A comprehensive fitness program, including flexibility, strengthening and aerobic activity to aid the lymph drainage.
Follow-up evaluation to reassess needs
Referrals to other health providers for dietary, counseling and community needs.

Where is this comprehensive treatment approach available?

Our licensed health care providers have specialized training in the treatment of lymphedema and breast cancer recovery. The Lymphedema Rehabilitation Program is a service available at
the following locations:

Mountain States Rehabilitation
Abingdon

445 Porterfield Highway
Abingdon, VA 24210
Phone: 276-623-0153
Fax: 276-623-1672

Mountain States Rehabilitation
Marion

1 Health Way
Marion, VA 24354
Phone: 276-378-1847
Fax: 276-378-1845