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- Skin feeling tight
- A full sensation in the limb or appendage
- Difficulty fitting into clothing in one specific area
- Ring or watch tightness
- Decreased flexibility in the hand, wrist, ankle or other area
Anyone who has a poorly formed or damaged lymphatic system is at risk for lymphedema. The cause may be congenital, or may be due to various surgeries in combination with lymphatic dissection and / or radiation therapy.
Lymphema can occur at any time after cancer therapy or different types of surgery, including orthopeadic conditions. Lymphedema and Orthopeadic conditions can present with chronic edema/swelling.
If you notice persistent swelling, it is very important that you seek immediate medical advice, as early diagnosis and treatment improves your prognosis and your condition.
Your doctor and therapist can identify if you have lymphedema or edema and recommend the proper course of action.
Visit these sites for more patient education information.
American Society For Surgery Of The Hand
Academy of Lymphatic Studies
American Occupational Therapy Association www.aota.com
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling. It can affect one or both arms, one or both legs, or any combination of your four appendages.
Occasionally, lymphedema may affect other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired, when lymph vessels are damaged, or lymph nodes removed.
When the amount of lymphatic fluid exceeds the lymphatic transport capacity, an abnormal amount of this protein-rich fluid collects in the tissues of the affected area. If left untreated, this accumulated fluid causes the tissue channels to increase in size and number.
Lymphedema should not be confused with edema which is swelling from venous or circulation-related problems. However, if edema is left untreated, it may progress into a combined venous/lymphatic swelling disorder which is treated in the same way as lymphedema.
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