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

Developing a comprehensive treatment plan follows a thorough assessment. The assessment will normally consist of a review of your venous symptoms, a visual inspection of your problems and a thorough review of your history. The assessment completed by Dr. Paul Larson, supplemented by the diagnostic ultrasound if indicated by a registered vascular technologist will aid in the process.

Conservative Management

Before seeking out a surgical or non-surgical treatment for varicose veins and other uncomfortable vein disorders, doctors may recommend conservative management techniques for patients. Conservative treatments may be required by an insurance company before other treatments can be considered.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.

Endovenous Laser Treatment

Endovenous Laser Treatment for the elimination of unhealthy varicose veins is the gold-standard for minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins. EVLT uses laser energy, which is a highly concentrated beam of light. They work by delivering this light energy to the tissue that is targeted with extreme precision, so as not to damage the surrounding tissue.


Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for spider veins and small superficial varicose veins that usually appear on the legs. They less commonly appear on other parts of the body. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical solution into a targeted spider vein or a reticular vein through a very fine needle.

Foam Sclerotherapy

Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive technique for men and women to eliminate unsightly varicose veins and spider veins. The procedure involves injecting a foam sclerosant in a blood vessel to close it. The blood reroutes itself through healthy veins, restoring more normal blood flow.

Ambulatory Micro-Phlebectomy

Also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, this is a procedure that can be performed in the office and is commonly performed at the time of endovenous ablation. The procedure is intended to remove larger bulging varicose veins near the skin surface.

Real Results.

See Before and After Treatment Results.

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“I can now endure intense cardio and leg workouts, and it does feel like I’ve been given a new set of legs.”

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