Vein Disorders

Lymphedema

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a type of swelling.

  • Due to damaged, dysfunctioning, or overloaded lymphatic vessels
  • The leg gets bigger with fluid
    • At first the fluid will go down over night and a finger can push the fluid out of the way (Pitting Edema)
    • Later lots of proteins get deposited in the tissues and they won’t drain easily (Woody edema)
  • The foot may have a buffalo hump on the top.
  • The inside and outside ankle bones and the heel area may have the same hump.
  • The toes may become square shaped.
  • Sometimes swelling is so bad blisters develop or
  • clear fluid may drain out through the skin (Lymphorhhea)
  • The skin is thickened,
    • In early stages Stemmer’s sign is positive. The skin at the base of the second toe can’t be pinched
    • In late stages the skin has a crusty cobble stone appearance (Elephantiasis)
  • Patients with lymphedema are at a much higher risk of getting infection in the tissues called cellulitis.
  • Repeated episodes of cellulitis damage the lymphatics even more
  • Can be inherited
    • Lymphedema Praecox  occurs early in life
    • Lymphedema Tarda   occurs late in life
Lymphedema Charlotte | Gastonia NC
Lymphedema Charlotte | Gastonia NC

  • Lymph vessels are a third type of vessel, in addition to arteries and veins.
  • ARTERIES deliver blood and fluid TO the body’s tissues.
  • VEINS remove the vast majority of it FROM the tissues.
  • LYMPHATICS drain the left over fluid and proteins FROM the tissues.
  • LYMPH NODES are the filters of the lymphatics.
  • The lymph vessels have one way valves and peristalsis: coordinated muscle contractions in the lymph vessel wall that propel fluid forward, like the intestines do for food.

Lymphedema Causes

  • Loss of peristalsis or valve function  
  • Lymphatics damaged by infection
  • Lymph nodes removed during surgery

Lymphedema also occurs when the VEINS can’t empty well. The lymphatics get overloaded. This is called Phlebolymphedema. Treating the veins helps Phlebolymphedema

Even if the underlying cause of the swelling cannot be found or corrected, there are lots of


Lymphedema Treatment

Compression Garments – we carry the full line of Sigvaris compression garments

Compression wraps   We carry CompreFit from Sigvaris  and Circ-Aid from Medi

Wedge pillow  correctly elevates your legs  above the trunk and heart

Adjustable bed overnight elevation of legs can work wonders.   

Complete Decongestive Therapy  specialized physical therapy that uses massage and wrapping

Lymphedema  pumps  we recommend The Flexitouch pump and the Biotab pump


Schedule a Consultation

If you suffer from Lymphedema and are looking for treatment, call 704-544-5245 to schedule a consultation. Vein Specialists of the Carolinas serves Charlotte, Gastonia, and surrounding areas in North Carolina.

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Gastonia, NC

860 Summit Crossing Place, Ste. 120
Gastonia, North Carolina 28054
704-861-2072

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Charlotte, NC

15825 Ballantyne Medical Place, Ste. 240
Charlotte, North Carolina 28277
704-544-5245

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