Lympedema

compression sleeve

 

A very scary bi-product of Sentinel Node Biopsy and full Axillia dissection.

Lympedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling most often in the arm/s and or leg/s and occassionaly, in the torso.  Lympeema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired, or when lympth vessels are damaged or nodes remove. When the impairment becomes so great that the lymphatic fluid exeeds the lympatic transport capacity, an abnormal amount of protein-rich fluid collects in the tissues of the affecte area.  Left untreated, this stagnant fluid, not only causes tissue channels to increase in size and number, but also reduces ogygen availability in the transport system, interferes with wound healing, and provides a culture medium for bacteria that can result in infection.

As a result of the sentinel node biopsy I had (3 lymph nodes removed), I have scar tissue and some surrounding fluid in the armpit area, which, after 2 weeks post-procedure, I am still working on reducing through exercise.  And that is why I’ve put this info under Mind-Body.

You must maintain a positive attitude and proactive stance to take care of yourself.  Do the exercises prescribed, and talk to your physicians if you require more to regain range of motion or to combat lympedema.

There is no cure for lympedema, so catching it early is a must.  Lympedema can be managed through specially trained massage therapists.  You can also be cautious in how you approach activities.  Wearing a compression sleeve and possibly gauntlet will help to limit the exposure to risk during various activities like air travel.

There are a good many sources of information.  The National Lymphedema Network has good information and also sells ID bracelets to wear on the damaged arm in the event you need first responders and are unable to communicate.  These tags indicate the arm is at risk for lympedema and to urge no needles or blood pressure cuffs be used.

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