Are you dealing with uncomfortable swelling? It could be lymphedema.  

Your lymphatic system is your body’s fluid management system. It has three main jobs:  

  1. Keep the fluid between your tissues and blood balanced.
  2. Assist the body in fighting off germs.
  3. Absorb and move fats.

When there’s a problem with your lymphatic system, it can sometimes result in a backup of fluid that causes swelling. This is called lymphedema. The swelling is usually in your arms or legs, but it may also affect your face, neck, breasts, abdomen or genitals. 

Some signs of lymphedema are:  

  • A heavy feeling in your arm or leg 
  • Achiness or pain in your arm or leg 
  • On and off swelling in part or all of your arm or leg 
  • Your arm or leg feels harder to move 
  • You’re experiencing changes in how your clothing or jewelry fit on just one side of your body 

People can be born with lymphedema, or it can be caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system. But most often, lymphedema happens after removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment.

What to expect during your first visit 

During your first visit, you’ll be asked questions about your medical history, your current condition and your goals. It may help to come with some notes. 

After the initial talk, the rest of your visit will be a lot like a physical or occupational therapy session. A health care provider may test your strength and range of motion. They may assess how you move, look at your posture, examine your skin and take some measurements. They may also watch how you walk.  

After the talk and the tests, you’ll formulate a treatment plan together. A personalized treatment plan will be designed specifically for your unique situation. Coordination of treatment with an appropriate surgeon may be part of your treatment plan. Learn more about potential treatment options.  

Why you should choose Nebraska Medicine 

We have all the experts you’ll need to tackle this problem from every angle. Our team is made up of physical therapists, occupational therapists, dermatologists, wound care experts, oncologists, vascular surgeons and plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeon Sean Figy, MD, specializes in lymphatic surgery. 

Find a Lymphedema Specialist Search
  • Lymphedema treatments

    Unfortunately, there is no known cure for lymphedema at this time. But the condition can be managed through a wide range of non-surgical and surgical treatments. 

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