The lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels and organs that help protect the body from bacteria and transport fluid from body tissues back to the cardiovascular system. Lymph vessels and lymph nodes help maintain a normal and healthy balance of fluid in the body. Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system is not working properly and normal movement of fluid in the body is disrupted. If the lymphatic system is damaged or blocked for a long period of time, chronic orre current swelling can happen in one or both legs. Besides the legs, lymphedema can present itself in several areas of the body including head, neck, arms, legs, and even the torso. There are a number of varying symptoms that may be due to lymphedema which can negatively affect daily life. Currently, there is no cure for lymphedema. However, there are many ways to properly treat this condition to minimize symptoms from worsening over time.


Primary Lymphedema

  • Abnormalities in the lymphatic system that are present at birth and are of genetic origin

Secondary Lymphedema

  • Lymphedema caused by damage or blockage in the lymphatic system such as:
    - Varicose veins - Trauma - Surgery -Radiation- Obesity


Lymphedema can cause numerous symptoms and comorbidities including:

  • Limb heaviness
  • Aching or excessive pain and fatigue in the limbs
  • Swelling and edema
  • Fibrosis, a thickening and hardening of the skin
  • Decreased range of motion and limb function
  • Redness and infection, or cellulitis


Although there is no cure for lymphedema, there are effective treatment options to minimize and slow the progression of this condition:

  • Compression therapy- wearing multi-layer bandage wraps and compression stockings
  • Physical therapy- providing lymphedema education and manual lymphatic massage
  • At-home pneumatic compression device- device that stimulates the lymphatic system to reduce edema and slow progression of lymphedema

Our Commitment to Helping You

The Vein Institute and our physicians are devoted to becoming more educated on lymphedema and symptoms associated with this condition. Contact us today to learn more about varicose veins and related lymphedema.