Lymphedema and venous edema

Lymphedema is caused by an abnormal buildup of fluid in any part of the body that is caused from the lymph system being damaged or blocked. While some people are born with lymphedema, most cases result from an injury, surgery or cancer treatment.

Venous edema occurs when your leg veins don’t allow blood to flow back up to your heart. When the valves don’t work well, it can cause the blood to flow backwards. This can cause the blood to collect in your legs.

Lymphedema and venous edema are not the same. Both cause swelling of the feet and legs and frequent pain and may be treated in similar ways.

Conditions and treatments

Personalized care for you

There's no cure for lymphedema. Treatment focuses on reducing the swelling and preventing complications.

Managing your lymphedema

Treatment of lymphedema focuses on reducing the swelling and preventing complications with medication and therapy. There are many nonsurgical treatments. In some cases, surgery may be an option.

Specialized lymphedema therapists can teach you about techniques and equipment that can help reduce lymphedema swelling. Examples include:

  • Exercises

  • Manual lymph drainage

  • Compression bandages

  • Compression garments

  • Sequential pneumatic compression

A personalized care plan

We will work with you to design a treatment program to help control the swelling from lymphedema. When the swelling is mild, it often can be managed by increasing the lymph flow through:

  • Compression garments

  • Exercise

  • Elevation of the affected limb

If the swelling is more severe, a treatment called complete decongestive therapy may be used. This includes:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage

  • Personalized exercise programs

  • Compression bandages


Convenient care close to home

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