Lake Norman Regional Medical Center Offers New Lymphedema Management Program

December 3, 2012 by Jared Moon

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Lake Norman Regional Medical Center (LNRMC) is pleased to announce the introduction of its new Lymphedema Management Program, which is now being provided at its Lake Norman Rehabilitation Center.  LNRMC’s Occupational Therapist, Stephanie King, MS, OTR/L, CLT, completed the educational and training requirements of The Academy of Lymphatic Studies – the leading school in the U.S. for lymphedema certification training – and will serve as the hospital’s certified Lymphedema Therapist.  The addition of the lymphedema certification broadens the range and scope of services and care Lake Norman Rehabilitation Center now offers to its patients.

The Academy of Lymphatic Studies’ mission is to promote high professional standards and the continuing professional competence of health care practitioners by promoting the quality and integrity of continuing education to practitioners in the field of lymphedema management.

Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein and water in the interstitial space, usually seen as swelling in the arms and legs.  The lymphatic system of the body is responsible for distributing and removing excess fluid in the body.  However, the lymphatic system can be damaged as a result of cancer treatments such as lymph node removal and radiation, resulting in its inability to function properly.

LNRMC warns that anyone who has had lymph node removal and/or radiation therapy is potentially at risk for lymphedema, especially those that are overweight both during and after cancer treatment.  Additionally, individuals who have had an infection or blood clot in a limb affected by cancer may be at risk as well.  Lymphedema can also be hereditary.  Warning signs include: aching, heaviness and visible swelling in the limb that was affected by cancer treatment.

The Lake Norman Rehabilitation Center uses Complete Decongestive Therapy, consisting of two phases, to manage and treat the symptoms of lymphedema.  Prior to starting therapy, a thorough evaluation of the patient is performed, including reviewing pertinent medical history and health precautions, in order to determine what treatment is medically necessary.  Once therapy is begun, Phase One consists of decongesting the involved limb through Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) techniques, compression wrapping and decongestive exercises performed with the short-stretch bandages applied.

Phase Two begins when the limb has been decongested and changes in limb volume have stabilized.  The goal of this phase is to maintain the accomplishments of Phase One through compression garment wear, as well as continued exercises and skin care, and self-applied MLD techniques.

The Lymphedema Management Program can also be used as a risk reduction and pro-active educational tool.  For instance, if a lymphedema diagnosis has not been made but a patient has undergone radiation or lymph node removal, they could still benefit from several treatments.  These treatments would serve as risk reduction procedures to avoid unnecessary strain to the limb and therefore decreasing their risk of developing lymphedema.

LNRMC prides itself on providing the highest level of health care and services to its patients and the surrounding community.  The addition of this rehabilitation therapy program echoes that mindset.  The Lake Norman Rehabilitation Center and LNRMC are excited about this new service and are eager to see the benefits of the Lymphedema Management Program with its patients.

For more information, or questions and concerns you may have concerning our Lymphedema Management Program, please contact The Lake Norman Rehabilitation Center at (704) 660-4470.

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services. For more information about the services offered at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, please visit www.LNRMC.com.