Lymphedema Therapy Now Available at Brookings Health System

  • January 26, 2012

Physical Therapist Karen Skogstad (right) demonstrates bandaging techniques that help reduce swelling caused by lymphedema.
Physical Therapist Karen Skogstad (right) demonstrates bandaging techniques that help reduce swelling caused by lymphedema.

Brookings Health System recently added lymphedema therapy to its list of available patient services.

“Previously lymphedema patients needed to travel to Watertown or Sioux Falls to receive therapy,” said Chief Nursing Officer Tammy Hillestad. “Because the initial treatments require a five day commitment for approximately three weeks, Brookings Health System realized the need to offer the same services in Brookings, helping lymphedema patients avoid a long commute.”

Lymphedema is a chronic condition in which excess fluid collects in tissues and causes abnormal swelling in the extremities. It is often the result of trauma to, or surgical removal of, the lymph nodes in the armpit or groin.

“Lymphedema can be very debilitating,” says Karen Skogstad, physical therapist at Brookings Health System who was recently certified in Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Complete Decongestive Therapy from the Academy of Lymphatic Studies. “While there is no cure for lymphedema, patients learn through techniques taught during therapy how to manage their condition.”

The therapy works in two phases. The first phase concentrates on removing lymph fluid out of the affected region and reducing swelling using MLD techniques and bandaging. Treatments are performed daily, five days a week for approximately three weeks.

Once the swelling is reduced, the second phase focuses on fitting the patient with a graduated compression garment and teaching the patient about ongoing self-care.

For more information about the lymphedema therapy offered at Brookings Health System, contact the therapy department at 605-696-9000.

About Brookings Health System
Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed Brookview Manor nursing home, and Brookhaven Estates apartments. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock medical-nursing care for patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at