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If you’re living with lymphedema and it is impacting your quality of life, our specialists at Regency can help relieve your symptoms and find the best course of treatment. 

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic condition which occurs when a build-up of fluid develops in one or both of the arms. It most typically afflicts patients after breast cancer removal; however, it can affect those who have been treated for other types of cancer as well. It’s important to treat lymphedema early so that the progression can be slowed or halted before it becomes worse.

Lymphedema symptoms

Lymphedema often has a considerable impact on the life of those who have it, as it greatly affects the arms, which we constantly use in our daily routines. Symptoms can include:

  • Swelling
  • Reduced motion
  • Changes in skin quality
  • Pain/tenderness in affected area
  • Heavy or tight feeling in arm(s)
  • Increased risk for developing skin infections

What causes lymphedema?

When the lymphatic network becomes disrupted, it can cause blockage that causes fluid build-up. One of the most known causes of this lymphatic network disruption is when the lymph nodes are removed or damaged because of cancer treatment.

Stages of lymphedema

Stage 1

No visible signs or symptoms yet, but there is abnormal flow within the lymphatic system.

Stage 2

There is fluid build-up and visible swelling. The swelling improves when the extremity is elevated. Pressing on the afflicted area may leave an indention in the skin. 

Stage 3

There is permanent swelling that does not subside. Pressing on the area no longer leaves an indention. Scarring and thickening of the skin are present. 

Stage 4

The limb is large, heavily swollen, and deformed. The skin is thickened, and wart-like growths and extensive scarring are present.

How is lymphedema treated?

While there is no total cure for lymphedema, there are treatment options. For many patients, at-home exercises, physical therapy, elevation, massage therapy, drainage, and compression garments are very effective.  Others suffering from lymphedema whose symptoms are more severe may require surgery. Surgical options may include:

Lymph node transfer: Healthy lymph nodes are taken from another area of the body, and are then transferred to where they are needed. This is a good option for mild to moderate lymphedema. This procedure can take from 4 to 8 hours.

Microsurgical treatment: This option can reduce swelling, making lymphedema much more manageable. 

Lymphatic bypass: Lymphatic vessels are connected and drained into the body’s venous system.

Why choose Regency Specialties?

If you’re experiencing lymphedema symptoms but have not responded well to traditional therapies and would like to explore surgical options, please schedule a consultation with one of our lymphedema specialists. It is very important to treat the condition before it becomes even worse. We are a patient-centric practice that keeps your safety and wellbeing in mind at all times. You will feel completely welcome from the moment you enter our door to your very last follow-up appointment. To learn more or schedule a consultation, please call 623-243-9077 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you.

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