Education, Management and Treatment

What is Lyphedema?

Lymphedema involves blockage of the lymph vessels, with a resulting accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissues of the body. This then causes swelling of edema that is most often seen in the arms and legs.

There is no cure for lymphedema and once it develops, it can be a long-term condition requireing daily treatment. But medical management can significantly improve your lifestyle.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of lymphedema include:

  • Swelling of part of your arm or leg or your entire arm or leg, including your fingers or toes, torso or groin
  • A feeling of heaviness or tightness in your arm or leg
  • Restricted range of motion in your arm or leg
  • Aching or discomfort in your arm or leg
  • Recurring infections in your affected limb
  • Hardening and thickening of the skin on your arm or leg

Lymphedema affects approximately 100 million people worldwide, including at least 3 million people in the United States.

Varicose Veins on back of legs

What Causes Lymphedema?

Primary lymphedema is an inherited condition, where the patient is born without lymph vessels and nodes. The swelling associated with primary lymphedema usually occurs during adolescence and affects the foot or calf.

Secondary lymphedema, or acquired lymphedema, develops as a result of an injury to the lymph system.

Lymphedema Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Lymphatic Pump: The goal of using a pump in the treatment of lymphedema is to move excess fluid out of the affected limb and return it to the cardiovascular system. A pump is used by some treatment facilities as part of a professional service. An even more important rold of the pump is for use at home by a pateint who has been trained in its proper use.
  • Manual Lymph Drainage: (MLD) with compression techniques and with patient education on self-care needs.
  • Lymphedema Wraps: When done correctly, wraps can provide support and mobilization of fluid.

Dr. Favata works with you to determine the best treatment options for your unique situation.