What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is caused by lymphatic obstruction, a condition in which localized fluid retention and tissue swelling occurs due to a compromised lymphatic system. The lymphatic system returns the interstitial fluid to the thoracic duct and then back to the bloodstream. The fluid is then recirculated back to the tissues.
Infection is common in tissues with lymphedema. Lymphedema is most commonly a condition that can only be managed and not entirely healed. Venous insufficiency can compound the problem and treating the underlying venous problems can offer lymphedema patients relief and the opportunity to better manage the condition.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include a feeling of heaviness or fullness, swelling or edema, and aching pain in the affected area. Lymphedema can be differentiated from edema arising from venous insufficiency as lymphedema usually involves swelling of the foot and venous insufficiency only involves the leg and ankle. Swelling at the base of the second digit is a common indicator of lymphedema.
In advanced lymphedema, there may be the presence of skin changes such as discoloration and even deformity of the leg such as elephantiasis.
Venous insufficiency and lymphedema:
Untreated venous insufficiency can progress into a combined venous/lymphatic disorder which is treated conservatively the same way as lymphedema.
It is not uncommon to have a combination of varicose veins, venous insufficiency, spider veins and lymphedema all at the same time.
How is it treated?
Quick, effective outpatient visits treat the root cause, not just the symptoms.
We treat vein issues using a strategic approach. Because diagnosis is the key to successful treatment we have only Registered Vascular Sonographers perform our diagnostic testing. They identify the problem with an ultrasound study of the veins in the legs, then Dr. Larson evaluated the images and function of your venous system. Once the damaged veins are identified, we develop a specific plan for your condition. Finally, we will always discuss the various treatment options and make decisions that are best for your vein health. Because vein disease is our specialty we offer many options to provide you the best vein treatment available.
Treating underlying venous problems may help reduce the symptom of lymphedema.
Treatment options focus on reducing the pain and swelling. Exercise, massage therapy, and compression therapy are all helpful ways to treat lymphedema.
The Vein Center of Arizona offers patients a wide variety of treatment options:
Comprehensive Treatment Plan
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Endovenous Laser Treatment