Symptoms and Types
There are many causes for this condition. Some of the most common include infections with parasites such as filariasis, injury or trauma to the area, past radiation therapy and surgeries, tumors and cellulitis. One of the most common causes of lymphedema is removal of the breast (mastectomy) and underarm lymph tissue for breast cancer. In a few cases the condition is present from birth (congenital).
In addition to swelling, the most common complications include chronic wounds and ulcers and skin breakdown. Patients with lymphedema must be vigilant about skin care and hygiene.
Your physician can offer different treatment options for lymphedema including:
- Compression devices prescribed by a doctor usually with multi-layered bandages
- Manual lymph drainage (MLD) or light message to drain fluid
- Range-of-motion exercises done with the help of a physical therapist
- Surgery may be necessary in some cases
Contact your doctor if you have swelling of your arms, legs, or lymph nodes that does not go away.