Certified Treatment for a Common Disease
St. Vincent's Medical Center Riverside and Southside are two of only a few centers in North Florida that offer certified therapy for treatment of lymphedema.
Lymphedema is fairly common and affects approximately 1% percent of the U.S. population (2.5 million Americans). It is an abnormal accumulation of protein-enriched fluid (lymph fluid) within the tissue spaces throughout the body. It results from an imbalance of the lymph transport capacity and the lymphatic load. Lymphedema may develop when the lymph vessels and/or nodes have been damaged or removed, leaving the lymphatic system unable the handle the excess lymph fluid. It is a chronic condition that, left untreated, will only continue to worsen. Treatment should begin as soon as lymphedema has occurred.
There are two types of Lymphedema: primary and secondary.
Primary lymphedema can be present at birth, or it can develop at anytime. With primary lymphedema, the swelling can occur for many reasons and may be associated with anomalies.
Secondary lymphedema can result from surgical removal of lymph nodes, damage to vessels, scarring across vessels, radiation therapy, tumor growth, blockage of lymph nodes, lipoedema, infection, inflammation, trauma, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, filariasis, and/or chronic venous insufficiency. The most frequent incidents occur in patients who have had surgery to remove malignant tumors.
- Swelling of the arms, legs, truck, or face/neck
- A feeling of heaviness or discomfort in the area, often resulting in less mobility
- Repeated infections in the area
- Thickened skin
Therapy services are provided by licensed physical and occupational therapists who have completed at least 120 hours of specialized training and are certified in lymphedema therapy. Treatment plans are customized to each individual's condition. After an assessment, the therapist will make recommendations on the amount and length of therapy needed.
Make an Appointment
You will need a physician referral for therapy services. Referrals can be called in to St. Vincent's Riverside Outpatient Rehab & Sports Medicine at 904-308-7741 or to St. Vincent's Southside Outpatient Rehab Services at 904-296-3711.
Information on Lymphedema Therapy at SVMC (.pdf)
Physician Guidelines on Lymphedema Therapy at SVMC (.pdf)