Types of Lymphedema
Lymphedema, a painful condition in which your lymphatic system does not work properly, and lymph fluid collects in your extremities, can be an uncomfortable and difficult ailment for Houston patients. With lymphedema, Houston and Connecticut patients experience swelling of their arms and legs (which may even extend into their fingers and toes); a feeling of fullness in their extremities; a tight sensation of the skin; difficulty moving the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and/or ankles; thickening of the skin, which may include the development of blisters and/or warts; an uneasy feeling of tightness when wearing clothes, shoes or jewelry; an itching or burning sensation in the extremities; difficulty sleeping; and a loss of hair. While there is no known cure for lymphedema, there are two lymphedema surgical procedures, which when performed by a qualified lymphedema surgeon may help alleviate these problems.
But, why does lymphedema happen in the first place? What causes it? Read on to learn more about primary and secondary lymphedema, and how an experienced Houston and Connecticut lymphedema surgeon can help reduce the symptoms of these conditions.
What is Primary Lymphedema?
Primary lymphedema is caused by irregular development of the lymphatic system, which is the result of a genetic condition. While inherited, you may first experience the symptoms of primary lymphedema at birth or later in life. Forms of primary lymphedema include:
- Congenital lymphedema, formerly called Milroy’s syndrome. This form of primary lymphedema is an inherited condition caused by a mutation of the VEGFR3 gene. Congenital lymphedema typically presents at birth.
- Meige lymphedema, which is an inherited form of primary lymphedema that usually presents during puberty and typically affects the legs.
- Lymphedema Tarda, another inherited form of primary lymphedema which generally presents itself around middle age, and is more common in women than in men.
What is Secondary Lymphedema?
Secondary lymphedema is the result of damage to the lymphatic system. Upper extremity lymphedema is common amongst breast cancer patients, who may have had lymph nodes removed or radiation as part of their cancer treatment.
How Can a Lymphedema Surgeon Help Alleviate Lymphedema Symptoms?
If you’re a Connecticut or Houston lymphedema patient, you may be considering lymphedema surgery by a qualified lymphedema surgeon such as Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig. A lymphedema surgeon can perform one of two different procedures to alleviate the symptoms of lymphedema:
- Lymphedema bypass, in which your lymphedema surgeon uses microsurgery to bypass existing lymph pathways, and creates new ones. As the new lymph pathways begin to work, the lymph fluid collected in your arm or leg will drain, and your swelling and other symptoms will reduce.
- Vascularized lymph node transfer, in which a lymphedema surgeon uses microsurgery to remove a healthy lymph node, typically one from the groin, and places it in your arm or leg to encourages normal flow of lymph fluid, thus reducing swelling and other lymphedema symptoms.
How Can I Find a Houston or Connecticut Lymphedema Surgeon?
If you are a Houston or Connecticut patient with lymphedema, and you’re looking for an experienced lymphedema surgeon, you have to look no further than Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig. Both lymphedema surgeons have studied under world-renowned lymphedema surgeon Dr. Corrine Becker in France and are experienced at helping Houston and Connecticut patients reduce the painful swelling, itching, and skin tightening feelings of lymphedema.
To schedule a free consultation with Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig, call (713) 322-6073 today.