Lymphedema is lymphatic edema of an extremity. Among patients, this disease is also known as elephantiasis.

• What causes lymphedema?
Primary lymphedema is associated with a congenital malformation of the lymphatic vessels. Secondary lymphedema occurs after trauma and burns that damage the lymphatic vessels.

• Which limbs are affected by lymphedema?
Most often, one of the lower extremities is affected, less often both. The upper limbs are rarely affected.

• What are the symptoms of lymphedema?
The only symptom of lymphedema is persistent, persistent swelling of the limb. The swelling usually begins in the foot and gradually rises higher, spreading to the entire limb.

• Why is lymphedema dangerous?
Lymphedema itself is not dangerous at all, but the constantly increasing edema gradually leads to deformation of the limb, the development of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) and dermatosclerosis (loss of the elastic properties of the skin). Against this background, dermatitis (skin inflammation), erysipelas (an acute infectious disease affecting the lymphatic vessels) and trophic ulcers often develop (any damage to the skin in conditions of lymphatic edema leads to the emergence of constantly weeping, long-term non-healing skin defects).

• How is lymphedema treated?
The main method for the treatment of lymphedema is complex conservative therapy, which consists of an intensive phase, which includes lymphatic drainage massage followed by bandaging of the limb and a supporting phase, which includes wearing flat-knit compression hosiery of the third functional class with periodic courses of intermittent pneumocompression. The phases are alternately repeated 3-4 times a year and make it possible to successfully maintain the disease in the compensation phase.

• Can lymphedema be permanently cured?
At the dawn of the development of microsurgery, many surgical interventions were undertaken in order to completely and completely cure lymphedema. All of them did not justify themselves, tk. over time, lymphatic edema returned to its original level.

• Who treats lymphedema?
The primary care provider for lymphedema is always the surgeon. He determines the type of lymphedema, the degree of its severity, prescribes pharmacotherapy, gives recommendations on the selection of compression hosiery and decides on the further routing of the patient.

• Can lymphedema be treated on my own?
You can try to transfer the disease to the stage of stable clinical remission, but for this you need to be firmly convinced that it is lymphatic, and not venous or cardiac edema. In addition, it must be remembered that compression hosiery – the basis for the treatment of lymphedema – is categorically contraindicated in the presence of stenosis (narrowing) of the arteries of the lower extremities.

It is almost impossible to understand all the variety of symptoms accompanying the diseases of the vessels of the lower extremities, therefore it is better not to risk health, but to consult a specialist who knows the methods of diagnosis and differential diagnosis of diseases of the vascular system.