MCH is pleased to offer lymphedema treatment for patients affected by it.
What is Lymphedema?
Swelling of a body part like the extremities, face, neck, abdomen, and/or genitals
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of lymphedema due to axillary node surgery
- Radiation therapy for cancer
- Trauma, injury, scarring
- Infection of lymphatic system
- Feeling of heaviness in part of your body (i.e. arm, hand, foot)
- Visual swelling throughout the area of your body
- Swelling begins in the fingers or toes and works its way towards the body
- Discomfort, but not necessarily pain
- Cellulitis or irritation to the skin which causes it to be red
- Your Doctor must give you a prescription for Lymphedema/Physical Therapy
- You may call PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) to schedule an appointment for Lymphedema treatment at (432) 640-1230.
- Initial visit with a physical therapist for an evaluation, plan of care and goals for treatment.
- Treatments to follow are usually daily unless specified by your physical therapist and will include:
- Lymphatic drainage massage to the abdomen, neck, underarm, and groin (depending on the limb receiving treatment)-where the major lymph nodes are located.
- Lymphatic drainage massage to the involved limb, front & back
- Wrapping of the involved limb-from fingers or toes up towards the body
- The wrapping will be worn all day and night until your next visit
- Upon being discharged you will be measured for a compression garment, which you will wear during the day and self-wrap at night
- Your physical therapist will determine how long you will need lymphedema treatment, which could last from two weeks to two months
- You can participate in physical and or occupational therapy along with lymphedema treatment and we encourage increased activity
For information about the Lymphedema Therapy division at MCH Health System, contact the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at (432) 640-1230.
Katherine Ovalle, LPTA, is a certified lymphedema therapist (CLT) at Medical Center Health System. She graduated from the Odessa College Physical Therapy Assistant Program in 2012 and she has been employed at MCHS since July 2012. She is a native Odessan and graduated from Odessa High School. She worked as a physical therapy technician in high school and knew that Physical Therapy was the career she wanted to pursue.
There are only 8 therapists in our area (West of Dallas and East of New Mexico) who are certified through the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy and Katherine is one of them! She enjoys helping patients regain as much function as possible after stroke, cancer treatment, other debilitating circumstances.