Lymphedema can be a debilitating condition, yet few people are aware of
what it is or what treatment is available in our community. Fortunately,
a healing touch can be found at St. Joseph Medical Center!
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling,
usually in the arms and legs and occasionally in other parts of the body.
The swelling develops from abnormal lymphatic flow as a result of cancer
surgery, radiation treatment, infection, trauma, vein problems, obesity
or hereditary causes.
The human body has a network of lymph nodes and vessels that carry and
remove lymphatic fluid the same way blood vessels circulate blood to all
parts of the body. Lymphatic fluid contains white blood cells, which help
fight infections. Within the lymph vessels, there are valves and muscles
that help move the fluid through the body. The lymph nodes serve as filters
for harmful substances and help fight infection.
If lymph nodes are not functioning normally and fluid builds up, nutrients
cannot reach tissue, such as skin, and waste products are not removed.
The resulting lymphedema can lead to infections, discolorations and changes
in the skin, hardening of the tissues and skin, limited function or mobility,
and other serious side effects.
How Lymphedema Affects You
Lymphedema affects the body, and therefore the quality of life, in many ways:
- Swollen body part
- Heaviness of body part
- Limitation of movement
- Repeated infections
- Thickening and breakdown of skin
- Leakage of lymph through the skin
- Cosmetic problems
- High medical expenses
- Decrease in quality of life
- Decrease in overall health
- Emotional distress
While there is no cure for lymphedema, specialized therapy can help relieve
symptoms and reduce the debilitating long-term effects. The staff of St.
Joseph Medical Center’s Lymphedema Clinic provides consultation,
evaluation and treatment for those with edema (swelling). Treatment is
Contact Our Clinic
To schedule an appointment or to speak with our therapists, contact us
The Lymphedema Clinic at:
Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
1000 Carondelet Drive
Kansas City, MO 64114