Cartersville (July 1, 2024) – Piedmont Cartersville now provides therapy for patients with lymphedema, a condition that results from impaired flow of the lymphatic system and can cause mild to severe swelling in one of more of a person’s extremities.

According to the Lymphatic Education and Research Network, it is estimated that up to 10 million Americans, and hundreds of millions worldwide, suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic diseases.

“I’m extremely proud that we now offer lymphedema therapy at Piedmont Cartersville,” said Joe Wach, executive director, patient services. “This addition is an example of our ongoing commitment to provide services needed in our community, close to home. The dedication of our rehabilitation team to develop the program and obtain the required certifications underscores their level of commitment to our patients.”

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and part of the immune system. It consists of a network of vessels beginning just below the skin and draining down to deeper vessels that run alongside the veins. These vessels remove excess fluid from the tissues, as well as proteins, lipids (fats), cell debris, antigens (germs), etc., which is called “lymph.” The lymph is carried to lymph nodes, which

are located around the body and filter out harmful substances. The protein-rich lymph is returned to the blood stream via the subclavian veins which are near the collar bone.


Lymphedema can occur when there is a problem with lymph vessels and/or lymph nodes. It can affect any part of your body – arms, legs, trunk or face. It involves the following:

  • Swelling, which can limit use of a limb
  • Gradual thickening and hardening of the skin
  • Increased risk of infections


Risk factors may include: cancer treatment that involved surgical removal of lymph nodes and/or radiation; any surgery that cut through major lymph vessels; family members with a history of swelling; long-standing problems with your veins; injuries resulting in long-lasting swelling; repeated skin infections; lengthy residence in a tropical region; and obesity.


Warning signs of lymphedema can include clothing and jewelry feeling tight, clothing leaving indentations and at-risk limb feeling achy, tight, full, tired, heavy or warm. If you experience any of these signs, you should:

  • Stop doing the activity that brought it on
  • Loosen anything that feels tight
  • Rest and elevate your limb on pillows or other soft surface
  • Contact your doctor for a referral to the Lymphedema Program for evaluation


While lymphedema cannot be cured, it can be controlled. The treatment is called Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) and is provided by Piedmont Cartersville’s team of certified lymphedema therapists. It involves intensive treatment followed by home management. An average treatment session is 90 minutes, three days a week, unless otherwise indicated. An average course of treatment lasts four to eight weeks. Our therapists utilize the latest manual treatment techniques, bandaging and decongestive exercises. Education is provided for patients and their family members regarding application of bandages and manual techniques for management of symptoms at home. The lymphedema therapists also provide guidance and recommendations for garments to help patients maintain compliance with lymphedema management upon completion of treatment.


The Lymphedema Therapy Program at Piedmont Cartersville is located inside the Advanced Wound Healing Center at Piedmont Physicians Center, 970 Joe Frank Harris Parkway, Suite 240.


If you have signs or symptoms of lymphedema, ask your physician for a referral to Piedmont Cartersville’s Lymphedema Therapy Program. For more information, please call 470.490.1900.



About Piedmont

Piedmont is empowering Georgians by changing health care. We continue to fuel Georgia’s growth through safe, high-quality care close to home through an integrated health care system that provides a hassle-free, unified experience. We are a private, not-for-profit organization with more than 12,000 donors annually that for centuries has sought to make a positive difference in every life we touch in the communities we serve. Across our 1,755 physical locations we care for more than 4 million patients and serve communities that comprise 85 percent of Georgia’s population. This includes 25 hospitals, 72 Piedmont Urgent Care centers, 25 QuickCare locations, 1,875 Piedmont Clinic physician practices and nearly 3,200 Piedmont Clinic members. Our patients conveniently engage with Piedmont online, as they scheduled more than 612,000 online appointments and over 163,000 virtual visits. With more than 47,000 care givers we are the largest Georgia-based private employer of Georgians, who all came for the job, but stayed for the people. In 2024 and 2023, Piedmont has earned recognition from Newsweek as one of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity and also as one of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women. In 2022, Forbes ranked Piedmont on its list of the Best Large Employers in the United States. In addition, Piedmont provided nearly $390 million in community benefit programming and uncompensated care in Fiscal Year 2023.

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