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Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluid that can collect in any body part but most typically occurs in arms or legs. This chronic condition can develop when lymph nodes or vessels are missing or damaged due to surgery, radiation, infection or trauma.
While lymphedema is often associated with the treatment of breast and other cancers, the condition can result from other causes as well, including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic venous insufficiency, Hodgkin’s disease, motor vehicle accidents, parasitic infections or as an effect of treatment for other diseases.
Left untreated, the excess fluid can cause swelling, reduced oxygen flow, delayed wound healing and increased risk of infection. Lymphedema can also cause weakness, decreased joint movement, pain, changes in sensation and problems functioning with daily activities.
The Lymphedema Management Program provides effective and compassionate treatment for people suffering from chronic swelling and corresponding pain. St. Anthony's caring and experienced professional staff develops a treatment plan, unique to each individual, with goals to reduce pain and swelling and restore function in day-to-day activities. Ultimately, each patient is educated to manage his or her condition and improve overall quality of life.
The Lymphedema Management Program’s trained therapists and other professionals develop a two-phase treatment program unique to each patient's condition.
Phase one of treatment includes:
- special massage to help move the excess fluid out of the involved area
- compression therapy
- gentle exercise
- patient education
Once this phase is complete, treatment gradually progresses into the second phase focusing on self-management skills.
In phase two, patients learn about self-massage and bandaging, exercises, skin care treatment, and the fitting and use of a compression garment. Patients learn to effectively manage their conditions while realizing reduced swelling; improving use of the affected arm, leg or other area; relieving pain and discomfort; and enhancing self-esteem.
Because the specialized therapy and treatment provided through St. Anthony’s Lymphedema Management Program is medically based, it is necessary to have a prescription from your primary care physician or specialist to participate. For more information on lymphedema or for a referral to a physician familiar with this condition, call the clinic below.
12692 Lamplighter Square
St. Louis, MO 63128
See St. Anthony's interactive map for directions.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.