Advanced, Breakthrough Treatments
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling, usually to one arm or leg, but can affect both, due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. It happens when your lymph nodes have been damaged, or removed, as part of cancer treatment, or potentially from an infection or disorder.
The lymph system keeps you healthy by circulating lymph fluid throughout your body. When lymphatic vessels can’t remove the fluid due to a blockage, the fluid builds up, causing swelling in the limbs.
Dr. Krikorian is a leading lymphedema expert in the St. Louis area, who provides a range of options, from simple lifestyle changes to breakthrough surgical treatments.
Symptoms of Lymphadema
Symptoms can vary in severity, from barely noticeable to significant, impacting appearance and ability to move your limbs.
- Swelling in part or all of one arm or leg, including fingers and toes. For some people, both arms or legs will swell.
- Aching and discomfort in affected limb
- Loss of range of motion
- Feeling of tightness and heaviness
- Thickening or hardening of the skin
Advanced Treatment Options
Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer: This advanced treatment replaces damaged lymph nodes with healthy ones from another part of the body. This can significantly improve drainage and stop the swelling.
Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis: This is a super microsurgery that connects the lymphatic channels to nearby veins to provide a pathway for drainage.
Liposuction: When lymphatic fluid backs up and floods surrounding tissue, it can stimulate fat cells to grow. Liposuction can remove the excess fat and restore your limb to its normal size.
Decongestive Therapy: If symptoms are not severe, we simply work to reduce swelling, which may include using compression bandages, arm pumps, exercises, and/or dietary changes.
Get Relief from the Swelling and Discomfort in Your Limbs
Lymphedema does not have to be the end of your active life or normal activities. We can get your arm or leg looking, feeling, and functioning better.
Get Treated Sooner
Because we’re highly specialized, with seven treatment locations in the St. Louis area, we’re able to schedule your exam and treatment much sooner than other facilities. Call us at 314-849-0923 or complete this contact form to get started.
Schedule a Consultation
What To Expect
Dr. Krikorian will begin by examining your legs and feet. If he determines you have lymphedema your note from that visit will be written and signed before sending to our lymphedema pump company of choice, Tactile. Tactile will then reach out to you and schedule a time for you to be seen at our Farmington office when we have clinic, or they will come out to your house and fit you for the pumps.
You will be fitted for pumps by our lymphedema pump company, Tactile. Once fitted, you will be instructed to wear the pump for 1 hour on each leg 1-2 times a day. The Tactile representative will explain wear time and usage in further detail when being fitted.
You should notice improvement almost immediately after you begin usage. You may be placed on a diuretic to ensure none of the edema to the legs is water weight.
Something interfered with your lymph node. It’s most often from cancer treatment, though sometimes cancer itself can cause it. It may also be due to an infection or another disorder. Risk factors are:
- Advanced age
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Being overweight
Tactile, the lymphedema treatment company we use, works very hard to get everything approved by insurance prior to contacting you.
Lymphedema is manageable, however, is not curable. It’s mainly a lifelong treatment process.
While this is the goal, we can’t say it always will because there can be other factors causing edema (swelling) as well, but if it is purely lymphedema they should greatly reduce in size.
Wearing compression stockings at least knee high. This prevents the lymph fluid build up that is lymphedema.