Lymphedema Treatment in Fort Worth, TX

Lymphedema involves swelling of the arms or legs. While there is presently no cure, lymphedema can be managed with early diagnosis and diligent care of the affected limb. 

At Fort Worth Vein Center, we are experienced in treating a wide range of vein conditions, including lymphedema. Call 817-536-9600 to schedule a consultation.

Lymphedema Symptoms

Lymphedema is characterized by swelling, typically in the arms or legs, but it can also affect other areas of the body. Early symptoms may include:

  • A feeling of heaviness or tightness in the affected limb
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Recurrent infections
  • Leg cramps
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As the condition progresses, the swelling becomes more pronounced and persistent. The skin may also become hard and thickened (known as fibrosis). In severe cases, changes such as blisters or wart-like growths can occur as well.

Lymphedema Causes

Lymphedema is the result of a compromised lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is part of your immune system. It relies on a small-caliber network of vessels to transfer fluid out of the space between the body’s cells, known as the interstitium. Damage or blockage of these vessels prevents lymph fluid from draining properly. The fluid buildup then leads to swelling.

Primary lymphedema is hereditary and results from malformations of the lymphatic system. 

Secondary lymphedema is the more common form. It can result from:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Injuries that damage the lymph nodes or vessels

Lymphedema vs. Swelling vs. Edema

Lymphedema and regular swelling (also known as edema) differ primarily in their causes and characteristics.

Lymphedema is caused by a compromised lymphatic system. It leads to the accumulation of lymphatic fluid, typically in the arms or legs. It may result from lymph node removal, radiation, or congenital abnormalities.

Edema, on the other hand, is caused by fluid accumulation in tissues due to various reasons, such as heart failure, kidney disease, or venous insufficiency. Unlike lymphedema, edema can affect any part of the body and is often more generalized.

When to See a Doctor About Lymphedema

A close-up shot of a person measuring their swollen foot with a tape measure

Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice persistent swelling in your arm or leg. This is especially important if the swelling is accompanied by a feeling of heaviness, tightness, or recurring infections.

If you already have a diagnosis of lymphedema of a limb, you should also see your doctor if the size of the involved limb suddenly dramatically increases. This can be a sign of complications.

Lymphedema Diagnosis

Diagnosing lymphedema involves a thorough medical history and physical examination.

Your healthcare provider at Fort Worth Vein Center may measure the circumference of the affected limb to track changes over time. They may also use imaging tests such as MRI, CT scans, Doppler ultrasound, or lymphoscintigraphy to visualize the lymphatic system and identify blockages.

These tests help determine the extent and location of the lymphatic dysfunction. They allow for a more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

Complications of Untreated Lymphedema

If left untreated, lymphedema can lead to severe complications:

  • Infections and Inflammation: Chronic swelling can cause recurrent skin infections (cellulitis) and lymphangitis. Both of these conditions require prompt medical attention.
  • Decreased Mobility: Over time, the skin in the affected area can become thickened and fibrotic. This may lead to decreased mobility and function of the limb.
  • Cancer: Severe, untreated lymphedema increases the risk of developing lymphangiosarcoma. This is a rare but aggressive form of cancer.

The constant physical and emotional burden of lymphedema can also significantly affect a patient’s well-being. It can lead to psychological distress and social isolation.

Why Choose Fort Worth Vein Center?

At Fort Worth Vein Center, our team of experienced specialists is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for individuals with lymphedema. We utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and tailored treatment plans to manage symptoms, prevent complications, and improve your quality of life.

Our team is led by Barry Oswalt, MD, FACS. Dr. Oswalt is board-certified in general surgery and venous and lymphatic medicine. He has performed thousands of vascular procedures and is known for providing expert, compassionate care to all patients. 

Schedule a Consultation in Fort Worth

Dr. Oswalt and the team at Fort Worth Vein Center are experts at diagnosing and treating lymphedema.

If persistent swelling continues in your arms or legs (or both), give us a call at 817-536-9600 or contact us online. We will get right back to you to set up a consultation. 

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