Lymphedema Clinic

Centra Health

Lymphedema Clinic

Lymphedema is a chronic disorder characterized by persistent swelling in the arms or legs due to blocked lymph channels. Surgery, trauma, infection or radiation therapy can often damage the lymph system. This damage leads to an accumulation of lymphatic fluid, which causes swelling, inflammation and disability.

Lymphedema in the arms is commonly associated with breast cancer following surgical removal or radiation treatment of the lymph nodes. It can occur shortly after injury to the lymph system or many years later. Patients who have undergone treatment for cancer in the pelvis, colon, or lower extremities or who have been through treatment for Hodgkin's disease often suffer from lymphedema in the legs.

There is treatment

Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is a noninvasive, safe and reliable method that can maintain a smaller limb and also decrease the incidence of cellulitis. It consists of four basic steps:

  • Skin and nail care that may include topical and systemic antimycotic drug treatment so the skin is infection free before treatment is started.
  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Compression therapy
  • Decongestive exercises

A certified manual lymph drainage therapist performs the manual lymph drainage followed by compression bandaging, five days a week for two to four weeks. The goal is to mobilize protein-rich fluid and reduce the size of the limb. After volume reduction of the limb, a compression garment is obtained to preserve and maintain the decreased size. With proper patient compliance, the volume reduction can not only be maintained, but also improved by continuing reduction of fibrosis.

The Lymphedema Clinic offers this treatment and is part of the outpatient services provided by Centra Rehabilitation.  The clinic is located in Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital. We also offer a full array of outpatient physical therapy services at Virginia Baptist Hospital and nine other locations.

To schedule an appointment, call 434.200.4668.

Learn more about lymphedema treatment

Learn more about Centra Rehabilitation