Lymphedema Doctor - Physician - Lymphologist

A Lymphedema Doctor is a physician with training and expertise in lymphology. A Lymphologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the lymphatic system.
- Margarita Correa MD, December 17th, 2010

Published December 17th, 2010

Lymphedema Doctor - Physician - Lymphologist A lymphedema doctor is a physician with training and expertise in lymphology. Lymphology is the study of the lymphatic system. The physician through a medical history and physical examination can help differentiate between the different kinds of "edemas". Edema or swelling of an arm or leg can be related to conditions of the heart, kidney, liver; venous system disorders such as chronic venous disease and deep venous thrombosis; and side effect of some medications. When the lymph fluid flow is impaired then is accumulated and called lymphedema. If the cause of your lymphedema is not obvious, imaging tests can be ordered to determine what's causing the condition: * *Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - using magnetic fields and radio waves, an MRI produces 3-D, high-resolution images. An MRI gives a better look at the tissues in your arm or leg. * *Computerized tomography (CT) scan - is an X-ray technique that produces detailed, cross-sectional images of your body's structures. CT scans can reveal areas of the lymphatic system that may be blocked. * *Doppler ultrasound - looks at blood flow and pressure by bouncing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) off red blood cells. Ultrasound can be helpful in finding venous and arterial obstructions. * *Radionuclide imaging of your lymphatic system (lymphoscintigraphy) - during this test you're injected with a radioactive material and then scanned by a machine. The resulting images show the material moving through your lymph vessels, highlighting areas where the lymph fluid is blocked. Lymphedema can be primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is a rare, inherited condition caused by problems with the development of lymph vessels in your body that can be manifested at birth or later in life. Secondary lymphedema is a condition characterized by swelling of the soft tissues in which an excessive amount of lymph has accumulated usually secondary to malignancy when the lymphatic system is obstructed, invaded or lymph nodes are surgically removed and/or radiated. The lymphedema physician takes an active part in the treatment. The treatment is oriented to control the lymphedema and prevent further complications such as infectious process sometimes called cellulitis, properly named dermatolymphoadenitis. The infectious process should be treated promptly to prevent a systemic bacterial infection, sepsis that could be life threatening. Other associated infections can be related to fungus usually involving the nails and skin that need to be treated with anti-fungicidal medications to prevent worsening of the lymphedema. The assessment of the kidney and heart function should be considered before starting decongestive therapy. Treatment for lymphedema varies depending on the severity of the edema and the degree of fibrosis of the affected limb. The most common treatments for lymphedema are a combination of the use of manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging and garment and intermittent sequential gradient pumps. Complex decongestive physiotherapy is a system of manual lymphatic drainage massage, application of multi-layer compression bandages, skin care and education.

Tags: lymphedema | lymphology | lymphatic | edema | doctor | physician therapy

About the Author

Margarita Correa MD is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine and Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. Former Professor of the Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Sports Health Department, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, P.R. Dr. Correa did her Lymphedema training with Coast to Coast School of Lymphedema Management, Leduc Lymphedema Management Method, Basic and three Advanced Courses. Dr. Correa is practicing Lymphedema diagnosis and management since 2002 to present. Dr. Correa has dictated Lymphedema conferences at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program for several years to residents in training and in forums in the US. Dr. Correa established the first comprehensive lymphedema program for adults and pediatrics in San Juan, Puerto Rico private practice at Centro Fisiatrico Americo Miranda Inc (2003 - 2007) NLN sponsor diagnostic and treatment center and relocated to Florida in 2008. Postal address: 2020 Oakley Seaver Drive, Suite 1, Clermont, FL 34711 Phone (352) 404-6959 Fax (352) 404-6960

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