Treatment creates added touch for patients with lymphedema

A newer treatment at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City is helping patients who are experiencing lymphedema.

A newer treatment at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City is helping patients who are experiencing lymphedema. It's a problem that can sometimes happen after cancer surgery when lymph nodes are removed.

Yuka Pounds is a breast cancer survivor. She underwent a lumpectomy in Japan last year during her cancer treatment. The surgery caused her to develop lymphedema, which happens sometimes when lymph nodes are removed, or after radiation to lymph nodes

"I have swollen parts under my breasts and armpits," says Pounds.

Physical therapist, Kelley Nash is also a certified lympodemia therapist with Munson. She uses a form of therapy on Pounds called PhysioTouch to help relieve the pain and pressure in Yuka's chest and arm area.

"Specifically with breast cancer somebody's going to come in who has had surgery. So, they will have scar tissue. Also, with lymphedema many of them have lymph nodes removed and so as a result they can get swelling. This machine opens up those lymphatics. It does a suction and that suction allows for more of that fluid to flow through that area," says Nash.

Nash says the PhysioTouch is a newer treatment Munson has had for the past six months. Pounds comes for her treatments twice a week for about 45 minutes.

"With lymphedema once you have it, you have it for life. However, we're working on them with other forms of treatments to soften the tissue enough to manage it on their own. This is combined with other forms of treatment to meet their goals but this has been a great addiction," says Nash.

"PhysioTouch the machine helped me a lot. I can just feel the difference," says Pounds.

For Pounds, she plans to come in for a few more treatments and is happy with the results so far.

"It helps a lot. Last time I was feeling like I had a ball under my arm but now it feels normal. It doesn't hurt. It just feels comfortable," says Pounds.

The PhysioTouch isn't just used for people for people who've had cancer, but also used for anyone who might have pain or swelling from scar tissue or even orthopedic patients.

Insurance does cover the treatment and for more information through Munson Medical Center click here.