Lymphedema is a condition that results from a blockage in the lymphatic system preventing the clear lymph fluid from draining well, thus building up to swelling in the limbs.
“Elephantiasis”, wherein people usually present with swelling over the legs, is an endemic problem in our country and is a consequence of the mosquito transmitted Filarial infestation. It can also occur in the arms, though uncommon, following treatment for certain stages of Breast cancers. Rarely the private parts are affected.
Over the years the limb becomes heavy and enormous with thickened “Elephant” like skin. People are known to have suffered from this problem for decades. The affected patients are susceptible to frequent skin infections and suffer from immobility due fluid and fat (Lipedema) deposition over a period of time.
Personal Hygiene, Manual Lymphatic Massage and Bandaging techniques by trained therapists has been the mainstay of Lymphedema control. In addition, Filarial Lymphedema requires treatment with Medications, while in later stages, Surgical management will be of help.
In the last few years, due to technological advancements in instrumentation & better understanding of the lymphedema problem, newer surgical techniques and procedures have benefitted even those with Congenital and Post Breast Cancer treatment induced Lymphedema.