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Lymphedema management now available in Crockett

Kathy Curless, OTR, CLT, an occupational therapist at the ETMC Rehabilitation Center in Crockett, has completed studies to become a certified lymphedema therapist.
Ms. Curless is now certified to perform manual lymph drainage and complete decongestive therapy for lymphedema patients. She completed a 135-hour training program in Houston in July, including the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the lymphatic system, through the Academy of Lymphatic Studies, which is based in Florida.

“The certified lymphedema therapist qualification means that I have completed the studies required to establish and carry out a treatment plan for patients who are in the various stages of lymphedema, including those with possible lymphedema complications,” she said. “Patients in this area will benefit from the convenience in receiving lymphedema therapy in Crockett. Before I received the certified lymphedema therapist qualification, lymphedema patients had to drive to College Station, Tyler, and similar distances for care.”

According to the National Lymphedema Network, lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the body’s interstitial tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arms and/or legs, and occasionally in other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired (primary edema), or when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed (secondary edema).

Secondary lymphedema, or acquired lymphedema, can develop as a result of surgery, radiation, infection or trauma. Specific surgeries, such as surgery for melanoma or breast, gynecological, head and neck, prostate or testicular, bladder or colon cancer, all of which currently require removal of lymph nodes, put patients at risk of developing secondary lymphedema.

Other conditions which can be successfully treated with components of CDT include: chronic venous insufficiency, lipedema, post traumatic and post surgical swelling, inflammatory rheumatism, fibromyalgia and more. Ms. Curless is well-versed in the application of basic and advanced techniques of manual lymph drainage, basic and advanced techniques of compression bandaging and is certified in the measurement and fitting of medical compression garments.

The lymphedema management program is provided as part of ETMC Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, which has served the Crockett area with comprehensive physical and occupational therapy services for more than 10 years. ETMC Outpatient Rehabilitation Services is located in Suite 150 of the medical office building located adjacent to the hospital. For more information, please call 936-545-4333.

Originally posted August 20 2008