Lymphoedema is a chronic condition that commonly develops in the arms and legs causing swelling of the tissues. If diagnosed, consider lymphedema treatment in Chennai. The lymphatic system functions to fight infections and drain excess fluid. A problem in this lymphatic system can lead to Lymphoedema. The venous system and the lymphatics are closely related. Venous insufficiency or hypertension is associated with Lymphoedema. Though the lymphatic system functions to its maximum capacity are unable to drain the elevated fluid resulting from ambulatory venous hypertension. The lymphatic system experiences overload, which is also known as dynamic insufficiency of the lymphatic system.
Causes of Lymphoedema are:
- – Improper development of the lymphatic system
- – Damage due to trauma or injury
- – Excess secretion of lymphatic fluid
- – Venous hypertension
Two main types of Lymphoedema have been classified as:-
- Primary lymphoedema which is less common where the lymphatic system is not genetically developed well can show symptoms at any age but is usually seen in early adulthood
- Infection, injury, treatment for cancer, or an immobile limb can cause damage to the lymphatic system leading to restricted movement and drainage of lymphatic fluid resulting in secondary lymphoedema. Venous insufficiency is known to be a common cause for Lymphoedema. Secondary Lymphoedema of the arm is more common and known to affect one in five women after breast cancer treatment. Lower limb lymphoedema is seen in cases of genitourinary cancers.
Lymphoedema symptoms of the limb are:
- Swelling of part or all of the limb including fingers or toes
- Heavy or tight feeling
- Restricted range of motion of joints of the limb
- pain or discomfort
- Repeated infections
- Skin thickens or hardens (fibrosis)
Stage 1 the Latency Stage
An asymptomatic stage where there is still no evident swelling despite impaired lymph transport. This stage may pertain for months or years before oedema appears.
Stage 2 the Mild Stage
Early accumulation of fluid with pitting may occur. An increase in proliferation of cells may be seen.
Stage 3 the Moderate Stage
Limb elevation alone rarely reduces swelling and pitting may or may not occur as tissue fibrosis develops.
Stage 4 the Lymphostatic Elephantiasis (Severe Stage)
Pitting is no longer evident as trophic skin changes occur with acanthosis, fat deposits and warty overgrowths.
Complications of Lymphoedema could be severe infection such as cellulitis or lymphangitis, immobility, amputation and lymphangiosarcoma which is a rare form of soft tissue cancer.
Diagnosis for Lymphoedema involves:
- Physical examination and medical history.
- Specialised x-rays, CT scans and lymphoscintigraphy which brings out the functional defect in the lymphatic system.
- Bioimpedance detects fluid level and flow.
- Perometry and tonometry are used as assessment for treatment progress.
Best Treatment for Lymphedema at Laser Vein Clinic
Treatment – There is no absolute cure for Lymphoedema but therapy and alternative corrective measures can help alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.
Complete decongestive therapy that involves exercises, massage with compression, and electrical stimulation for muscle function are considered fundamental methods to restore lymphatic circulation and drainage.
Elasticated compression garments to promote Lymph flow.
- – lymphatic transplants where lymphatic vessels from a normal limb are surgically transferred into the affected area.
- – Lymphaticovenular Anastomosis is a microsurgical technique that involves diverting the lymphatic fluid into the venous system distal to a compromised lymphatic bed.
- – vascular lymph node transfer which is a physiological procedure.
- – Suction-assisted protein lipectomy is a minimally invasive ablative procedure that can be used to treat lymphedema safely and effectively in many patients when combined with integrated lymphedema therapy.