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Lymphedema Program

The Lymphedema Program at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Outpatient Therapy Center specializes in treating patients with lymphedema and/or other edemas. Patients are taught proper skin care, proper diet, massage techniques, exercises, and compression techniques to assist in managing lymphedema, and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

Who Uses Lymphedema Services

Patients with lymphedema or edema brought on by various causes including:

  • Primary lymphedema caused by congenital abnormality
  • Secondary lymphedema resulting from the effects of surgery, radiation, or injury
  • Edema from venous disease
  • Dependent edema resulting from a neurologic or traumatic injury

Lymphedema Services

Our specially trained physical therapists, and manual lymphatic drainage specialists work with patients on an individual basis to increase knowledge, safety, and, ultimately, independence.

Services include

  • Evaluation Complete decongestive therapy
  • Manual lymphatic drainage massage technique
  • Compressive bandaging
  • Exercise program
  • Patient and family education
  • Periodic assessments

Lymphedema Services Explained

To be seen, a patient must first have his or her condition evaluated by a physician who writes a prescription.

Complete Decongestive Therapy
Complete decongestive therapy includes teaching proper skin care to prevent infection, as well as a variety of specialized procedures and techniques that are explained below.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Technique
We use a specialized massage technique to facilitate lymphatic flow within the body resulting in improved function and movement of the involved limb.

Compressive Bandaging
Low-stretch bandages are used to create pressure that prevents fluid from returning to the affected limb. Patients and/or caregivers are taught to apply these bandages independently. Patients learn an exercise program that helps to remove fluid from the limb while wearing the compressive bandages. Patients are also measured and fit for special compression garments.

Patient and Family Education
We consider family involvement a key component of our program. We teach both the patient and his or her family the skills and techniques needed to treat lymphedema or other edemas at home. We also provide instruction in proper diet, skin care, and exercise. Using this knowledge, patients can prevent infection and hospitalization.

Contact the Lymphedema Program

For more information or to make a referral, please contact Mary Free Bed's Lymphedema Program at:

616.242.0366 or 800.668.6001



350 Lafayette SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-4651 | Map

Outpatient Referral Form

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