14 Sep 2017
September 14, 2017

Lymphedema: Causes and Treatment

Lymphedema is a condition that results from impaired flow of the lymphatic system. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup leads to swelling.

Symptoms of Lymphedema include swelling in one or more extremities. The swelling may range from mild to severe and disfiguring. Other symptoms may include: warmth, redness, or itching; tingling or burning pains; fever and chills; decreased flexibility in the joints; aching, pain, and fullness of the involved area; skin rash.

While there is no cure for lymphedema, compression treatments and physical therapy may help reduce the swelling and discomfort. Treatment options may include: exercises; wrapping your arm or leg; massage; and the use of compression garments. At ACP Vein Center we found the most effective treatment for Lymphedema is Pneumatic compression. A comprehensive Vascular work-up is required prior to this type of therapy.

With Pneumatic compression, a sleeve is worn over your affected arm or leg that connects to a pump that intermittently inflates the sleeve, putting pressure on your limb and moving lymph fluid away from your fingers or toes. These may be used in the clinic or in the home and are useful in preventing long-term scarring.