What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a chronic condition, in which blockage causes excess lymph fluid to collect in tissue, causing swelling. It occurs more frequently in the extremities but is also seen in the head, neck, abdomen, and genitalia. Lymphedema can be very debilitating. There are two types of lymphedema. Primary lymphedema is due to inadequate lymphatic vessels. Secondary lymphedema is precipitated by an event causing blockage or interruption of the lymphatic vessels. In the United States the most common causes are surgery involving the lymph nodes, radiation therapy, trauma, and cancer. It is most often seen following surgery for cancer of the breast, pelvic area, and resections for lymphomas and melanomas.
Symptoms of Lymphedema?
As lymphedema progresses, the involved areas swell more and more. Mobility can be severely impaired as the affected areas increase in girth. Joint movement is restricted and painful, and the skin over the involved areas becomes taut and dry. The subcutaneous tissues can become hard and fibrotic which impairs the flow of blood and oxygen to the area. This unhealthy state often leads to recurrent infections because the high protein lymph fluid is a good growth media for bacteria and fungi. These infections can be life threatening and may require hospitalization. Each subsequent infection can further damage the lymphatic system.
Who is affected by lymphedema?
- The population of afflicted and at risk Medicare age persons in the U.S. is $6.8M persons.
- 10-15% (680,000-1,020,000) of Lymphedema Patients experience at least one skin infection each year.
- Hospital admissions for cellulitis resulting from lymphedema have increased 90% since 1997, reaching 600,000 admissions in 2010.
How does lymphedema affect the cost of healthcare?
The cost of treatment of lymphedema related cellulitis and skin infection is avoidable. Studies show that lymphedema suppresses the immune system of the affected limb. Appropriate treatment of lymphedema reduces infection.
- The cost of care for patients with Cellulitis approached $4 billion in 2004.
- Average Hospital stay for cellulitis is 5 days ($1,763 per day), with an average cost of stay being $8815.
- 3% of cellulitis cases are severe and average a stay of 10 days; average cost of stay being $17,630.
Why Doctors Prescribe Lymphedema Services?
Physicians can reduce costs, decrease unnecessary hospitalizations, improve outcomes and reimbursements by using Certified Lymphedema Therapists to assist with the proper assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of Lymphedema Patients. Lymphatic disease is silent, costly, and frequently misdiagnosed or untreated, leading to unnecessary complications and poor outcomes. These services are available at home for outpatients.
Over 50% of your average PCP patients have Chronic Venous Insufficiencies - and 100% of CVI (Chronic Venous Insufficiencies) develop into lymphatic deficiency if untreated.
Why should you use lymphedema management services?
- Attract CVI/lymphedema/cancer patients
- Increase office visits, provide better outcomes, and decrease morbidity
- Reduce unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations
- Manage complex health issues more easily
- Consults and diagnosis are of great benefit to the patient, simple and quick for the physician
- Free CLT (Certified Lymphatic Therapist) consult for the physician and patient
Why choose the AmeriCare Lymphedema Management Program?
At AmeriCare we will provide a Plan of Care tailored to every patient's symptoms and diagnosis. Using evidence based practices, therapists combine Manual Lymph Drainage, Compression Bandaging, skin and nail care, and a patient self maintenance education to achieve best outcomes and establish patient independence. AmeriCare has access to Compression Bandage supplies and Garments. Our Certified Lymphatic Therapist and Certified Garment Measurement Technicians are available by appointment. Take control of your cost and outcomes with a free consult from our CLT (Certified Lymphatic Therapist) today!
Frequently Asked Questions - The following are frequently FQA about managing lymphedema and lymphatic system disorders. Click Here
Physicians can learn how to improve patient outcomes and bottom lines by prescribing lymphatic services today. Call us now for a free consult to explain how our Lymphedema Services can improve your outcomes and reimbursements today at (956) 227-8787.