What is Lymphedema and How is it Treated?
Lymphedema occurs when there are swelling and pain in the arms and the legs. It takes place when the lymph nodes do not get proper drainage of lymph fluid from an area of a body. It is a congenital disease. It is caused by infection, trauma, and often due to the treatment of cancer. Lymphedema affects patients who are being treated for cancer of the breast, gynecologic cancers, melanomas, and other types of skin cancer. There is a number of symptoms associated with Lymphedema, like extreme swelling, change in the skin color, and tenderness or pain.
After lymphedema is diagnosed, then nonsurgical treatment is started soon after. Elevation, skin care, elastic stockings, and physical therapy are some of the initial treatments. Though it helps the patients minimize their problems, it is burdensome as well to require long treatment.
The doctor will be able to diagnose through the symptoms and give proper treatment. If it’s not traceable, then imaging tests have to be carried out. An MRI scan involves using the magnetic field and radio waves. CT scan involving X-rays to give a detailed image of the body structures. Doppler ultrasound helps to locate the blood flow by giving high-frequency sound waves off the red blood cells.
There is no cure for lymphedema. The treatment only lies in reducing the swelling and controlling the pain. Exercises help to some extent and give relief. Wrapping the arm and leg will help lymph fluid to flow towards the main part of the bond. Massage also helps to a certain extent in the flow of lymph fluid out of the arms or legs. In cases of severe lymphedema, your doctor may consider surgery removing the excess tissue in your arm or leg to reduce the swelling. There are also newer techniques for surgery that might be appropriate, such as lymphatic to venous anastomosis or lymph node transplants.