Because lymphedema is not well-covered in medical schools and residency programs and does not clearly fall into any specialty or sub-specialty, many primary care physicians find developing a lymphedema management plan challenging.
A program on Tuesday during the Joint Session with American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), and American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP) will help change that. Igor Altman, DO, FACOFP, assistant professor of clinical surgery and family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Section of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair, will present Lymphedema Unraveled at 2 p.m. in Hall A on the ground level of the convention center. “The purpose of this lecture is to raise awareness, help clinicians better recognize lymphedema, as well as to formulate an effective management plan,” said Dr. Altman, who also plans to cover where to refer patients when necessary.
He noted that antibiotics and diuretics are frequently incorrectly used to treat lymphedema, creating a significant issue, raising resistance to antibiotics, forcing patients to frequently void and leading to unnecessary drug-related side effects. “All of this can be overcome with proper work up and adequate compression therapy,” he said. “Early recognition and proper intervention are the keys to prevent disease progression, restore homeostasis and improve patients’ quality of life. There is no substitution to compression therapy, at least at this moment.”
Dr. Altman will discuss the most recent research on pneumatic compression devices and highlight the impact of lymphedema pumps on the rate of cellulitis, outpatient clinic visits, and hospital admissions.
“I will also present some exciting research on the use of hepatocyte growth factor for regeneration of the lymphatic system, or lymphangiogenesis,” he said.