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Head and Neck Lymphedema

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Allied Services Integrated Health
Head and Neck Lymphedema

Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling of the arm, leg, or other body part due to an excessive build-up of fluid called lymph. This condition affects both men and women who have had lymph node dissection, radiation, injury, or infection. In the U.S. today, one-third of all patients develop lymphedema after mastectomy.

Symtoms of Lymphedema

  • Feeling of heaviness in the limb
  • Skin feeling tight
  • Decreased flexibility in the limb
  • Difficulty fitting into clothing
  • Puffiness/swelling or any increase in the size of the limb

Treatment Program: Complete Decongestive Therapy

Our staff has advanced training in manual lymph drainage and bandaging techniques. Experienced therapists provide Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) a comprehensive four-part approach that includes:

  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Negative Pressure Device
  • Compression therapy
  • Instruction in the therapeutic exercise program
  • Patient education in proper skin/nail care
  • Lymphedema precautions
  • Development of home program

Lymphedema is also very common among patients who have undergone head and neck surgery or radiation therapy. Up to 75% of patients will manifest some signs and symptoms of lymphedema after treatment for head and neck cancers.

Head and neck cancer patients are routinely treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or protocols that combine these modalities. These treatments can cause damage to the lymphatic system. Lymphedema in the head and neck often results in problems with speech production, difficulty swallowing, drooling, impaired vision, and respiratory obstruction.

Research has shown that early and frequent intervention by a speech-language pathologist and certified Lymphedema therapist has been beneficial in reducing these symptoms.

Allied Services Integrated Health System has a team of speech therapists and certified lymphedema therapists experienced in treating the side effects of head and neck cancer treatment.

You may benefit from lymphedema speech and/or swallowing treatments if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing solids, liquids, and pills
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain, discomfort, tightness, or swelling either internally or externally
  • Globus sensation - the feeling of a lump in the throat
  • Fibrosis - scarring or thickening of the lung tissue
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Vocal changes or difficulty speaking

Treatment may include interventions by speech-language pathologists and Certified Lymphedema Specialists (occupational and/or physical therapists). Prior to being discharged from treatment, you will receive self-care recommendations for lifetime management of symptoms.

Call today to start your referral.

Allied Services Luger Rehab Center 570-348-1360
Dunmore Rehab Center 570-207-8700
Heinz Wilkes-Barre Rehab Center 570-826-3900
Heinz Pittston Rehab Center 570-655-5200