What is lymphedema?
Your lymphatic system is crucial in keeping your body healthy. Lymphedema occurs when your lymph vessels are unable to properly drain lymph fluid and it leaks out into the
tissues. Lymphedema can be either primary or secondary. Patients treated here have ranged in age between 3 months-94 years.
Causes of primary lymphedema
- Milroy's disease (congenital lymphedema) is an inherited disorder that begins from 0-2years and causes your lymph nodes to form abnormally.
- Meige's disease (lymphedema praecox) typically occurs late childhood or puberty. It causes lymph vessels to form without the valves to keep fluid flowing.
- Late onset lymphedema (lymphedema tarda) and typically occurs after the age of 35
- Genetic mutations can also be the cause of lymphedema such as GATA2 and FOXC2.
Causes of secondary lymphedema
- Surgery when lymph nodes being removed for a biopsy or cut into during another type of surgery. Often seen with the removal of lymph nodes in the breast area and
abdomen or melanoma due to cancer.
- Radiation treatment can cause scarring and inflammation of your lymph nodes/vessels which in turn can block the flow of the lymph fluid.
- Cancer cells can block lymphatic vessels. For instance, a tumor growing near a lymph node could block the flow of the lymph fluid.
- Infections can impede lymphatic flow from scarring as the tissue heals.
- Trauma to tissue can affect lymph function and flow.
What is Lipedema?
Lipidema is often misunderstood as being overweight but has some distinct differences.
- it is a result of abnormal accumulation of fat cells under the skin.
- it affects both sides and usally affects the buttocks, hips, thighs and legs, visually placing the upper and lower body out of proportion.
- tends to affect primarily women.
- the affected area is painful to the touch and tends to bruise easily.
- it is often noticed after a hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
- does not respond to low calorie dieting and exercising.
- can also develop with other conditions such as POTS, hypermobility syndromes such as EDS or and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS)
Other Issues that Can Cause Lymphedema
- Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome
- May Thurner Syndrome
- Venous Insufficiency
- Dercums Disease (adipose Delorosa)
Breast Cancer Rehab
Treatment for breast cancer can cause problems with limited mobility the chest and shoulder due to mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
- Tissue expanders and implants for cause skin tightness resulting in decreased mobility of the shoulder.
- Radiation can cause the skin to tight and in some cases adhere to the check reducing mobility and strength.
- Therapy can loosen scars through specific techniques to gently stretch and loosen them improving mobility and arm function.
- Lymphedema can also be a result of breast cancer treatment.
- Individualized treatment program for stretching and stregnthening will improve mobility, strength and arm use.
Lymphedema Related Wounds
- Multiple episodes of cellulitis may be a warning of underlying lymphedema and often times once swelling is resolved or starting to diminsh wounds can heal quite quickily