Coastal Bend Lymphedema Center
Certified Lymphedema Therapist
Appointments: (361) 806 – 5030
Fax: (361) 561 – 0609
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00pm
Closed for Lunch: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Lymphedema (either primary or secondary) is a mechanical failure of the of the lymphatic system where the load of protein and fluid exceeds the maximum capacity your body can transfer. This protein rich fluid accumulates in the interstitial space of the affected region. Lymphedema can affect most any area of the body, but you typically see it in the extremities, including genitalia, the head and neck.
Lymphedema can be classified in 4 different stages; based on characteristics of the affected skin region. Characteristics of pure lymphedema include: Slow onset, at varying stages is pitting, begins in distal and can work towards the trunk, asymmetrical limbs, no commonly painful- just uncomfortable, and limbs described as heavy. Changes in the skin, other than swelling, are also to be expected. They might include: cellulitis, wounds, squaring out of toes, swelling on top of feet or back of hand, loss of contours through body regions of the ankles and wrist.
Lymphedema doesn’t always happen exclusively and there are other diagnosis’s for swelling. Lipedema, Venous Edema, Congestive Heart Failure, Mixedema, Deep Vein Thrombosis, recent surgical intervention, and Malignant Tumors (to name a few) can all create swelling; it is important to get a full work up from your medical team to identify the source of the swelling.
While lymphedema cannot be cured, it can be treated effectively. Currently, the most effective and least invasive approach recommended by physicians is complete decongestive therapy (CDT).] Our rehabilitation team at The Coastal Bend Lymphedema Center, consists of a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) and licensed ancillary staff.
First, you will have an initial evaluation and assessment for appropriateness for the program. Once, medical clearance is established:
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage - consists of rhythmic light stretch and pull to mobilize edema
- Skin Care
- Bandaging - a custom foam will be cut and bandaged to your affected limb to promote continued fluidity of edema and to limit refill.
- Light exercises - Exercise is important to get a muscle contraction to continue to pump fluid through the body system.
Once edema has plateaued, you will be fitted for custom garments to reduce the refill of edema through the limb.
The maintenance phase is life-long commitment. Continued use of compression garments, skin care, exercise, and proper life style choices are important in maintaining results gained from the intensive phase. Follow ups with your CLT may be necessary every 6 months or yearly depending of any fluctuations in edema.
Please call 361-806-5030 for more information or to schedule your appointment with our certified staff.
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