Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich lymphatic fluid that causes swelling, typically in the arms or legs and occasionally in other areas of the body.
Untreated lymphedema can cause progressive hardening of the affected tissues, leading to increased risk for infections, such as cellulitis.
Who's at Risk?
Anyone who has undergone surgery or radiation that removed or damaged lymph nodes is at risk of developing lymphedema. All cancer patients, but breast cancer patients in particular, are at increased risk. Obesity and infection can increase the risk of developing lymphedema. Lymphedema can occur immediately after treatment or develop years later. Occasionally lymphedema can develop due to congenital (present at birth) malformations of the lymphatic system.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
- Feeling of "fullness" or "tightness" of the affected limb
- Swelling in the hands or feet
- Decreased flexibility in the hand, wrist, or ankle
- Difficulty fitting into clothing or jewelry
- Persistent swelling
Where Can I Find Help?
North Kansas City Hospital is the only Northland facility and one of only a few in Kansas City that provides treatment with certified lymphedema therapists, who have special training in the field. Lymphedema treatment is currently covered by most major insurance companies.
To receive lymphedema services at North Kansas City Hospital, ask your physician for a referral. For more information, call 816-691-1795.
Learn more about lymphedema therapy available at North Kansas City Hospital.