Abington-Jefferson Office
Price Medical Office Buliding
1245 Highland Avenue, Suite 600
Abington, PA 19001
215-887-3990

Blank Vascular Office
Ground Floor Buerger Building
1200 Old York Road

Abington, PA 19001
215-887-5934
Lansdale Office
125 Medical Campus Drive
Suite 205
Lansdale, PA 19446

 

 

 

The lymphatic system drains the body’s excess protein and water from all tissues.

The protein-rich lymph fluid is filtered by a series of lymph nodes and returned to the blood system.  When the lymphatic system has been damaged or blocked, the lymph fluid builds up and can cause mild to severe swelling in the arms or legs called lymphedema.  This condition slows the healing properties of the tissues involved and provides and ideal environment for infection.

Lymphedema is most commonly seen in the arm or leg but may occur in other body parts as well.  It can be the result of surgery, radiation, infection or trauma to the effected limb. Symptoms can occur immediately after such an event, or months or years later.  It may also occur spontaneously without any obvious cause.

 

Causes

  • Surgical removal of lymph nodes or  vein harvest for heart surgery.
  • Radiation therapy
  • Accidental trauma- bruises, cuts, burns, sunburns, sprains, insect bites, pet scratches.
  • Primary Lymphedema may be spontaneous with no predisposing intervention or trauma

 

Symptoms

Please notify your physician or health care provider if you experience any of the following in your arm or leg:

  • Redness and warmth- this could indicate an infection called cellulites.
  • Feeling of tightness
  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Feeling of pins and needles
  • Swelling or increase in size of arm or leg
  • Leakage of fluid through the skin

Prevention of Complications

  • Use compression stockings daily
  • Use sunblock – SPF 30 or higher on affected area
  • Treat your skin gently – use a low pH lotion such as Eucerin
  • Treat cuts and scratches with special care – clean well and protect
  • Use an electric razor for shaving
  • Eat a well balanced diet- avoid excess salt and fat.
  • Exercise is important
  • Wear non-restrictive clothing
  • Avoid exposing skin to extreme temperatures
  • Be careful when cutting nails and DO NOT cut cuticles

 

Websites for Lymphedema Information

National Lymphedema Network
www.lymphnet.org

Lymphedema Circle of Hope
www.lymphedemacircleofhope.org

Academy of Lymphatic Studies
www.acols.org