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Lymphedema treatment now available at Waupun Memorial Hospital
September 25, 2013

Waupun Memorial Hospital is now offering treatment for individuals diagnosed with lymphedema.

Lori Miyazato, OTR, CLT, and Stephanie Schubert, PT, DPT, LAT, CLT, have become lymphedema certified through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Certification requires 62 hours of educational time, including hands-on learning and written examination.

Miyazato has 12 years of experience as an occupational therapist, while Schubert has five years of experience as a physical therapist.

Lymphedema is the chronic swelling of an area due to permanent obstruction of lymphatic pathways. This permanent obstruction can result from surgical removal of lymph nodes, trauma, insufficiency of the lymphatic system, and/or lymph scarring from radiation treatment. Because there is inadequate fluid drainage, the fluid becomes stagnant and can cause chronic low grade inflammation, fibrosis (hardening), of the tissue, increase in skin temperature, mild to severe increase in limb size, decreased tissue healing, and high susceptibility to infection or cellulitis in the affected limb. 

Lymphedema can develop after a mastectomy with removal of lymph nodes. Onset can occur soon after or several years later. Trauma, childbirth, obesity, repetitive impact and genetic predisposition, can also be causes for lymphedema.

Early intervention with a comprehensive Lymphedema Treatment Program can decrease the effects and enable the patient t self-manage the lymphedema. If left untreated or re-infection occurs, the lymphedema can progress to a more serious condition.

Manual treatment of lymphedema involves a very light massage aimed at rerouting the lymph around blocked or damaged nodes. Compressive bandages are used to maintain and progress gains made with therapy. A home exercise program is provided to assist patients in facilitating lymph drainage. Compliance with therapy and the home exercise program are crucial for patients to manage for lifelong benefits.

The program’s goal is to give patients the tools they need to control the lymphedema once it is reduced through treatment.

For further information about the lymphedema treatment available at Waupun Memorial Hospital, or to schedule an appointment for an evaluation, call (920) 324-6544. A doctor’s order is required for treatment.

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