The human body is an amazingly efficient machine that regularly cleans itself out through its lymphatic system. Lymphedema occurs when fluid called lymph builds up, resulting in swelling in your arms or legs. The team of vascular experts at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center specializes in lymphedema, helping patients in Hauppauge, Port Jefferson Station, and Riverhead, New York, get the treatment they need. If you’re dealing with lymphedema, please call or request an appointment online now.
Your body’s immune system relies on the lymphatic network to circulate lymph fluid throughout your body to pick up harmful bacteria, viruses, and waste. This fluid then heads through your lymph vessels to your lymph nodes, where specialized cells called lymphocytes filter out the hazardous materials, which are then flushed out of your body.
Lymphedema occurs when there’s a blockage in your lymph vessels, and they’re unable to drain properly, leaving fluid to build up in your soft tissue. Lymphedema typically occurs in your arms or your legs.
Lymphedema can be either primary or secondary, the latter of which is relatively rare. More often than not, the swelling in your arms or legs is caused by:
In some cases, lymphedema can develop after surgery on the blood vessels in your legs, which occurs when lymph vessels or nodes are damaged.
Swelling in your legs is often a sign of vascular disease, which is different from lymphedema. Since leg swelling can stem from a variety of issues, the medical team at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center makes diagnosing your problem a top priority. The team is equipped with on-site testing, including Doppler ultrasound and lymphoscintigraphy (a technique in which your doctor injects dye into your system and then scans your lymph system).
If your doctor discovers that your swelling is due to lymphedema, they may recommend a treatment plan that includes:
You can do your part by following your exercise recommendations and keeping your swollen areas free from injury, which can bring on complications.
If your doctor determines that the swelling is due to another problem, such as venous insufficiency or a blood clot, they take the appropriate steps to mitigate the problem, which should remedy the edema in your legs.
If you’d like to learn more about lymphedema, please call one of the three Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center locations or use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.