Comprehensive Care for Lymphedema Therapy & Wounds

Location & Contact Info

University of Utah Hospital, Area F15
Phone Number: 801-581-2574
Fax: 801-585-2860

At University of Utah Health, our team of highly trained physical therapists has years of experience and specialized training in lymphedema therapy and wound care. Our friendly and compassionate providers take the time to treat each one of our patients like family. Together, we provide excellent, individualized care to improve your quality of life.

Since our clinic is a part of both an academic institution and extensive health care system, our providers have access to the latest research and treatments. Our team collaborates and coordinates patient care with other specialists at U of U Health as needed to offer you the best comprehensive care.

Types of Wounds & Conditions We Treat

  • Calciphylaxis (calcium deposits in the small blood vessels of the skin)
  • Cellulitis (bacterial infection in the skin)
  • Gangrene (tissue death)
  • Lymphedema (swelling caused by the build-up of protein-rich fluid)
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum (rare auto-immune ulcer that grows rapidly)
  • Scleroderma (hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissue)
  • Ulcers (including diabetic foot ulcers)
  • Venous stasis (poor circulation in the lower legs that causes swelling, skin changes, and wounds)
  • Wounds
    • Abscess (wound under the skin)
    • Amputee wounds
    • Animal bites (we commonly see dog bites)
    • Infected cuts or cuts that won't heal*
    • Pressure sores
    • Surgical wounds that reopen

Our clinic does not treat burns; however, we will refer you to our Burn Center, if needed.

*If you have a new cut that requires immediate medical attention, please go to the emergency department.

Wound Care Treatments

We offer two expert treatments for effective wound healing and care:
  • Negative pressure wound therapy (also known as a wound vac)—We use this method for severe wounds, such as skin ulcers or chronic wounds that won't heal. During negative pressure wound therapy, we will cover your wound with a special bandage and attach a gentle vacuum to the bandage. The vacuum will pull out the fluid and infection from your wound. Wound vacuums help your wounds heal faster with fewer infections.
  • Total contact casting—This treatment is used for ulcers (deep sores) that won’t heal on a person’s foot. We commonly use total contact casts for people who have diabetic foot ulcers. The cast is made from either fiberglass or a plaster shell with a bar on the bottom that helps to keep your weight off of the sore when you walk or stand.

Lymphedema Therapy for Swelling

Your physician may suggest lymphedema therapy to treat your swelling. Our certified lymphedema therapists are physical therapists with additional lymphedema training. Lymphedema therapy helps reduce swelling and keep it at a manageable level so you can carry out your daily activities.

Lymphedema therapy may involve the following:

  • wearing compression bandages or custom compression garments,
  • manual lymphatic drainage (light pressure massage), and
  • physical exercises depending on the location of the swelling.

Therapy sessions occur at least once a week for about four to eight weeks. You may be asked to complete the exercises you learn at our clinic at home. You may also receive compression bandages or compression garments to help keep the swelling down in between therapy sessions and after you complete lymphedema therapy.

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. This will ensure you are checked in and have enough time to fill out relevant paperwork.

If the receptionist isn’t at the desk when you arrive, please let us know you are here and a team member will greet you. If you haven’t enrolled in MyChart (the secure patient portal) before your visit, we will help you sign up when you arrive.

Please take appropriate pain medication prior to your appointment. This ensures that your visit is as comfortable as possible. 

What to Bring

Please bring the following with you upon arrival to your appointment:

  • loose-fitting, comfortable clothing such as a short sleeve shirt and sweatpants to give our providers access to your wound or swelling;
  • a face mask, which is required in all U of U Health hospitals and clinics regardless of vaccination status (see our visitor policy for more information);
  • a wheelchair cushion for evaluation, if you’re a wheelchair user, and
  • any relevant medical records.

If you have someone who assists with your swelling or wound care at home, feel free to bring them along with you to the appointment.

Doctor wrapping lymphedema patient's arm in compression bandages

What to Expect during Your First Appointment

Your first appointment will be 90 minutes long so we can thoroughly review your health history and determine the best course of care to heal your wound or manage your lymphedema. Please silence or turn off your cell phone during your visit.

We start every new patient visit with:

  • a physical examination of your wound and the surrounding area,
  • a discussion of your medical history, and
  • education regarding your treatment plan and care at home.

If you have a wound, you may receive treatment that may include but is not limited to:

  • cleansing and irrigating the wound to prevent infection,
  • removing dead tissue and debris,
  • applying appropriate topical medicine to your wound,
  • dressing your wound to protect and cover it, or
  • applying compression wraps for lymphedema.

We will teach you how to care for your wound safely and effectively in between your visits to the clinic.

Follow-Up Appointments

Follow-up appointments will vary between 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what’s needed to take the best care of you. The frequency of your visits will vary. We typically see patients once or twice each week to manage their wounds. Lymphedema patients will initially be seen twice each week; however, visits will eventually taper to once every two to six months for follow-up.

Our Lymphedema Therapy & Wound Care Team

How to Make an Appointment

You will need a referral from your primary care provider or another provider to be seen by one of our clinic specialists. Once your referral has been approved, our staff will call you and schedule you in the first available slot. It takes our scheduling staff about three business days to process your referral before we call you. If you have to cancel an appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours before your visit.