Clinical Specialties : Lymphedema

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is the accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling in the arms and legs. Edema occurs when venous or lymphatic vessels or both are impaired. When the impairment is so great that the lymph fluid exceeds the lymphatic transport capacity, an abnormal amount of protein fluid collects in the tissues of the extremity.

Untreated, this stagnant, protein rich fluid not only causes tissue channels to increase in size and number, but also reduces oxygen through the transport system, interferes with wound healing, and provides a culture medium for bacteria that can result in various infections. When lymphedema is chronic, it can result in fibrosis(hardening) of the extremity tissues.

When lymphedema is diagnosed promptly and treatment begun early, patients can enjoy productive lives with few complications.

Tamar S. Ference, MD
Associate Professor

Laura Y. Huang, MD
Assistant Professor