Lymphedema Treatment FAQs

We are excited to offer comprehensive care for patients with lymphedema. At Avicenna Lymphedema Care we provide lymphedema prevention education, lymphedema screening, and lymphedema treatment. Toward the end of your treatment course, we will recommend and measure you for adequate garment solutions.

What is Lymphedema?

When a person has lymphedema, the ability of the lymphatic system to transport fluid has been compromised. This results in an accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the tissue spaces that cannot move back effectively through the lymph vessels. The excess swelling decreases the oxygenation of the tissues and interferes with normal cell function.

Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema

Initially, lymphedema is typically experienced as swelling or tightness in one limb. This does not always mean that the patient has a visible increase in the size of a limb. At times, patients notice that clothing fits tighter around one limb or that jewelry does not fit anymore or leaves with deep imprints.

You can find more detailed information about the signs and symptoms on the Lymphedema Diagnosis page.

Causes of Lymphedema

The leading cause of lymphedema in the United States today is cancer and its treatments.

Lymphedema caused by factors listed below is considered secondary lymphedema:

  • Surgery (Especially from cancer with lymph node removal.)
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Accidental Trauma
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency
  • Repeated Infections in a Limb
  • Parasites (Most common in tropical countries.)
  • Postoperative Infection

Lymphatic dysfunction may also be related to a malformation of the lymphatic system from birth. This is considered primary or congenital lymphedema. It most commonly manifests in females, and most often only one limb is affected. In primary lymphedema, the lymph vessels are inadequate to transport fluid efficiently. This condition can appear at birth, at puberty or later in life.

Factors That May Contribute to the Development of Lymphedema in a Person at Risk:

  • Obesity
  • Infections (From an insect bite or cat scratch, for example.)
  • Long Airplane Travel
  • Lifting or Pushing Heavy Objects
  • Taking Repeated Blood Pressure and Blood from the Affected Arm
  • Repetitive Motions that Over-Strain the Limb(s)

Treatment of Lymphedema

The only effective long-term treatment of lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT is the current international standard of care for managing lymphedema.

Please visit our lymphedema treatment page to learn more.

Lymphedema Support

National Lymphedema Network:

Lymphedema Awareness Foundation:

Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization: