Lymphedema Management is Available at Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Breast Center

The specialized team of Certified Lymphedema Therapists at The Center for Restorative Therapies at Mercy in Baltimore provides comprehensive services for patients with all stages of lymphedema or who are at risk for developing lymphedema as a result of cancer treatment or other conditions. Our therapists work closely with physician specialists at Mercy to treat lymphedema.

Mercy is particularly known for its work with breast cancer patients who experience lymphedema in the arm. The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy uses innovative technologies to aid in the early detection of lymphedema/fluid changes following breast cancer surgery. 

What is Lymphedema Management?

Lymphedema is buildup of fluid, most often in the arms or legs.

Lymphedema can be divided into four stages (0 to 4) and most easily is treated in stage zero to one. Patient education begins during pre-operative evaluations prior to any surgical interventions, with the primary goal being to establish the patient’s individual baseline measurements of the involved limb(s).

This pre-surgical baseline measurement is essential to document, as any future post-surgical measurements need this reference point to provide an accurate comparison of the patients’ normal state.

The evaluation is performed by the certified lymphedema specialist taking measurements at regular 4 cm intervals. Bio-impedance measurements for body composition and arm tissue fluid levels also will be assessed as part of a research database.

NEXT: Types of Lymphedema Management ›
Types of Lymphedema Management

The Center for Restorative Therapies at Mercy helps patients manage secondary lymphedema due to treatment for breast cancer, melanoma, gynecological cancer, head/neck cancers as well as other conditions.

The Center for Restorative Therapies at Mercy has a unique approach to managing early stage lymphedema through its state-of-the art Early Intervention Program. Our Early Intervention Lymphedema Treatment Program includes:

  • A proactive approach to the prevention of secondary lymphedema after cancer treatment
  • Maintaining or improving a patient’s quality of life
  • Decreasing the incidence of chronic lymphedema and the need for lifelong treatment
  • Decreasing a patient’s cost of managing lymphatic disease
  • Developing a treatment protocol for patients with sub clinical lymphedema

The Early Intervention Lymphedema Treatment Program is based on The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) standards that are outlined in the new NLN (National Lymphedema Network) guidelines for early detection of breast cancer related lymphedema. 

Our program also offers Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which is an intensive treatment for the management of chronic lymphedema. CDT, which is the internationally recognized treatment for lymphedema, combines:

  • Specialized massage techniques known as Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
  • Meticulous skin and nail care
  • Specialized short-stretch compression bandaging and garments
  • Remedial lymphatic exercises
  • Comprehensive self-care training

CDT involves an intensive phase of treatment five days per week for approximately three to four weeks. The maintenance phase begins once a patient has achieved maximum volume reductions and has obtained their day-time compression garments. Patients continue with self-bandaging or utilize an alternative compression device. They also learn self MLD, skin care, and exercise.

Numerous programs are available in the community to support the self-care phase. Patients also are seen for follow-up visits to assess their progress and obtain new compression garments every six months.