Breast Care Center
111 Colchester Avenue
Main Campus, Main Pavilion, Level 2
Burlington, VT 05401-1473
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Our lymphatic system is a normal part of our circulatory and immune system. However, surgery, radiation therapy or a tumor can damage the system. When this happens, the lymphatic system cannot drain fluid properly. Fluid begins to build up in the body, causing swelling. This condition, called lymphedema, can grow slowly or appear suddenly. At The University of Vermont Medical Center, our lymphedema specialists can help manage your symptoms and control the swelling.
Lymphedema: What You Need To Know
At The UVM Medical Center, we believe in a patient-centered approach. We encourage you to be an active, informed member of your team. Our team always takes the time to talk to you, explain the next steps and answer any questions you may have. We provide care that is:
Your goals direct our care. We work with you to provide the treatment and support you need, so you can control your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
You may also be working with a hematologist or oncologist (cancer specialists). We work closely with your entire health care team, as well as your primary care physician, combining advanced medicine with a sensitive, compassionate touch.
As a university hospital, our sophisticated diagnostic and treatment techniques are based on the latest research in lymphedema care. We use the most advanced technology to provide you with effective, comprehensive treatment.
Our team members, including physicians and physical therapists, have specialized training and certification in lymphedema care. You can feel confident that your experienced, expert team understands your unique needs and has your best outcome in mind.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema can appear as a side effect of cancer treatments or from the cancer itself, since both can damage the lymphatic system. If lymphedema appears suddenly, you may experience a painful swelling. If it builds up slowly, you may experience:
- Part or parts of your body that feel heavy or hard to move
- Feeling full or slow
Discuss these symptoms with your oncologist or hematologist, who can determine if they are related to lymphedema. At The UVM Medical Center Lymphedema Clinic, we bring together an expert team of specialists to help you manage your symptoms and put you back in control of your life.
Our team of experts includes:
- Physician specialized in lymphedema care
- Physical therapist certified in lymphedema care
- Experts from other areas of medicine, depending on your specific condition and needs
- Your primary care physician and referring physician, who work with us to establish a treatment plan and coordinate follow-up care
- Referral to a social worker, if needed
- Referral to a psychologist, if needed
Lymphedema Treatment in Burlington, VT
Your specific treatment for lymphedema depends on your needs. Generally, this is what you can expect during treatment:
- Comprehensive evaluation - A physician specializing in lymphedema treatment and a physical therapist certified to treat lymphedema will evaluate you at our clinic. The evaluation includes:
- Detailed physical exam
- Discussing your personal and family medical history
- Discussing your personal health goals
- Personalized treatment - Together with you and your loved ones, we will develop a treatment plan based on your needs. Treatments may include:
- Special massages, called manual lymphatic drainage
- Compression garments to wear during the day or night
- Specialized tools and devices to help control the swelling
We will work with you to get the appropriate tools to help you control this swelling. You may learn how to manage the lymphedema after a few visits. Using tools and techniques, you can continue the treatments yourself at home. Other times, the lymphedema may be more chronic. You may need ongoing care at our clinic in order to control the symptoms.
Services We Provide
We are committed to your long-term health. In addition to the comprehensive care we provide at our lymphedema clinic, we can also help you find services close to where you live. Our services include:
- Finding a physical therapist close to your home who is certified in lymphedema care
- Coordinating your care between our physical therapy team and your local team
- Working with distributors of medical supplies to get you the various tools you need to treat lymphedema
- Working with your local physicians to provide further diagnostic testing, if necessary
- Coordinating referrals to specialty services, if you need them
Most insurance providers cover physical therapy. We can help you work with your insurance provider to ensure that you have appropriate coverage.
Conditions We Treat
We treat patients with a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Head and neck cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Gynecologic cancer
- Muscle or bone cancer
- Breast cancer
- Metastatic cancer
Many patients with these conditions develop some type of swelling. We work with you to control and manage your symptoms. In addition, if you are receiving palliative care, your plan may include lymphedema care. Our lymphedema team will work with your palliative care team to make sure we are meeting your needs.
Call us at 802-847-2262 for more information.