Lymphedema can happen when an individual undergoes an aggressive surgery or trauma that disrupts the lymph system. When lymph nodes are obstructed, lymphatic fluid collects and causes swelling (edema). It also reduces oxygen, which can interfere with wound healing and increase infections. Shirkey Premier Therapy is pleased to offer the only Certified Lymphedema Therapy program in the Richmond, MO region.

Lymphedema can occur with:

  • Breast cancer surgeries (Mastectomy or Lumpectomy)
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Total knee replacement
  • Total hip replacement
  • Broken arm or wrist
  • Wounds
  • Any trauma to the lymphatic system

It also affects individuals who have:

  • Diabetes
  • Neuropathy

How do I know if I have lymphedema?

  • Sudden increase in swelling in one extremity (arm, leg) compared to the other
  • The swollen area feels solid to the touch, not giving way to indentation
  • The body part feels heavy and uncomfortable
  • In some cases, the swelling causes pain in joints

What if it’s left untreated?

Along with being uncomfortable and unsightly, the swelling causes skin to stretch – sometimes beyond its bounds. Especially with dry skin, lymphedema creates cracks in the skin which can cause cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection.

How do I get rid of it?

First, get a referral from one of your health care providers, such as:

  • Primary care physician
  • Vascular physician
  • Wound care clinic
  • Orthopedic surgeon

Then, see us for your treatment. (You’ll need to be on antibiotics for at least 24 hours prior to your first treatment if you have cellulitis or any infection in the treatment area).

Our lymphedema therapy approach

  • Specialized massage to clear blockage of lymph nodes to reduce swelling
  • Compression pump: Pneumatic compression pump and attached sleeve fits over the affected extremity, creating a gentle massaging action to move fluid back to the body.
  • Compression garments apply subtle pressure to subside swelling.
  • Occupational therapy to improve range of motion, when applicable.

Sessions last 60 to 90 minutes, based on the individual’s need.

Patients begin to see desired results typically in 6 to 8 treatments during the 4-week to 8-week lymphedema program.

We also measure patients so they’ll get the proper fit for compression garments. We recommend where to purchase high quality compression garments and pumps in the most cost-effective way.

Patient Education

Lymphedema is normally a chronic condition. We educate individuals how they can keep lymphedema in check.

  • Provide an individualized home exercise program and other tools to use at home for success.
  • Advise in healthy eating habits, such as avoiding sodium-laced foods to alleviate swelling.

Shirkey Premier Therapy’s private entrance is on the north side of Shirkey Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 804 Wollard Blvd., Richmond. We accept these insurances: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Coventry, United Healthcare, Worker’s Compensation and Cigna.