Intermittent Pneumatic Compression (IPC): How do they work and what are the contraindications? Chronic lymphedema is considered to be a progressive condition regardless if it is classified as primary or secondary and can not simply be described as an accumulation of protein-rich fluid. Lymphedema may present in the extremities, trunk, abdomen, head and neck and external genitalia and can develop anytime during the course of a lifetime in primary cases; secondary cases may occur­ immediately following the surgical procedure or trauma, within a few months, a couple of years, or twenty years or more after treatment. Lymphedema progresses through stages, and treatment intervention in early stages (stage 0 and stage I) has been shown to result in very good treatment outcomes if managed appropriately (1).
In this stage the transport capacity of the lymphatic system is reduced, but the remaining lymph vessels are sufficient to manage the flow of lymph, and swelling is not visibly present. Examples include individuals who underwent surgeries for malignancies, such as breast cancer, cancer affecting the genitourinary and gynecologic systems, cancers in the head and neck region, melanoma or soft tissue malignancies. A condition known as lymphangiopathy is present if the reduction in the transport capacity of the lymphatic system is caused by pathology affecting the lymphatic system directly in form of a developmental abnormality (malformations, as in primary lymphedema).
In stage 0 patients may experience early symptoms, such as the feeling of numbness, tingling or fullness in a limb, which is often accompanied by low-grade discomfort.
Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of lymphedema is of paramount importance to limit progression of the swelling and to avoid complications often associated with untreated or incorrectly treated lymphedema; several studies have shown that patients’ self-reported symptoms are very accurate indicators of early lymphedema. Treatment intervention in this early and easily manageable stage has been shown to result in very good treatment outcomes using simple, non-custom compression garments (4). Body parts such as the arms or legs are visibly swollen as protein-rich fluid starts to accumulate in the tissues. While an increase in proliferating cells (increase in fibrous connective tissue) may be present, this early stage lymphedema is considered reversible because the skin and tissues have not yet been permanently damaged. It is important to point out that the stage of lymphedema is not defined by size, but rather by the consistency of the tissues.
Can you please tell me if there are any recommended pills or anything I can take to assist with the breakdown of this accumulated protein?
Dear Celia: With pulmonary lobectomies the nodes located in the mediastinum are removed, axillary lnn.


It is a chronic degenerative and inflammatory process affecting the soft tissues, skin, lymph vessels and nodes and may result in severe and often disabling swelling. These procedures generally include the removal of lymph nodes with subsequent disruption of lymphatic pathways.
In this case lymphedema is not clinically present as long as the lymphatic system is able to cope. While subclinical lymphedema can be detected using methods such as bioimpedance (2) and perometry (3), these technologies are not yet widely available. In many cases, the swelling subsides with elevation and the limb may appear normal in the morning; however, as soon as the limb is in a dependent position, the swelling returns. With proper management it is possible for the patient to expect reduction of the extremity to a normal size (compared with the uninvolved limb). This stage is primarily identified by tissue proliferation with subsequent thickening and hardening of the soft tissues.
In most cases, the excess fibrotic tissue typical in this stage will not recede during the intensive phase of complete decongestive therapy (CDT). However, if lymphedema remains untreated, protein-rich fluid continues to accumulate, leading to further increase of swelling, sometimes resulting in extreme proportions.
In most cases the duration of the intensive phase of complete decongestive therapy has to be extended and repeated several times. Use the “Index” list on the left side of this page and select the article you are interested in.
Macrophages secrete molecules (cytokines) that tell the body to begin an inflammatory response.
In this case, it is very important that you do everything in your power to prevent the swelling from getting worse, and maybe improve the situation. This subclinical stage can exist for months, or years, before any more serious signs appear. Pitting is easily induced by pressing with the thumb, and the indentation produced by this pressure is retained for some time.


Without proper treatment, progression to the next stage is unavoidable in the vast majority of the cases. In many cases the swelling increases and elevation of the limb rarely reduces the swelling; pitting is evident. Reduction in tissue fibrosis is mainly achieved in the second phase of CDT with proper compression and good patient compliance. In extreme cases the surgical removal of excess skin following the conservative therapy may be indicated (5). You can also use the “Select Category” window on the right of this page and select the topic you are interested in. With chronic swelling, this process goes on constantly and leads to chronic inflammation, which in the long run leads to hardening of the tissues (fibrosis). I am currently on no treatment or any sort of medication as doctors informed me there was nothing else they could do for me. The onset of lymphedema correlates to the ability of the lymphatic system to compensate for the reduced transport capacity and any added stress to the system that may cause an increase in the volume of lymphatic fluid. Over time, the tissue continues to harden and excess fatty tissue begins to form and pitting becomes difficult to induce. In this state, pitting is absent and the swollen body part becomes a perfect culture medium for bacteria and subsequent recurrent infections (lymphangitis) are frequent. Once selected, a new page will load with a number of articles related to the topic you chose. Moreover, untreated lymphedema can lead into a decrease or loss of functioning of the affected extremity, skin breakdown and sometimes irreversible complications.



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