Baptist Health Corbin: Understanding & Treating Lymphedema
Baptist Health uses advanced medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of lymphedema. Learn more about the process and the cure for lymphedema.
Understanding & Treating Lymphedema HealthTalks Transcript
Barbara Canada, OT, Certified Lymphedema Specialist:
Lymphedema is abnormal swelling of your lymph fluid. You can have primary or secondary lymphedema.
Primary is where it’s inherited. Secondary is generally caused from an insult — cancer, radiation treatments, injury. I’ve seen folks who have had crush injuries, and they end up with lymphedema. What happens is — once you’ve had that injury, your lymph can’t move. Lymph is fluid that our body uses to help get rid of bacteria and infection. That’s our first and primary defense against infection.
When I get somebody referred to me, then I do my initial exam. I use a SOZO™ machine as a diagnostic tool. It tells me your fat level. It tells me your skeletal muscle mass. It tells me your active muscle mass, and it can tell me within a tablespoon of fluid in your body. That’s pretty good because when we’re talking about lymphedema, we’re talking about fluid.
Once you’re referred to a specialist, the treatment involves compression therapy and manual lymph drainage. That’s where I use my hands and we do a massage on the person. If we are successful, we want it to incorporate back into your body. Then, we try to guide it all back into your trunk, and your body will take it back up and use what it can. It’s amazing. It’s truly amazing that we have this available here. We’re close to home.