Diagnosing Lymphedema: Understanding the Condition and its Diagnosis

Oct 24, 2023


In the realm of vascular medicine, diagnosing lymphedema plays a vital role in understanding and managing this condition. At Vein Center of Arizona, our team of dedicated doctors with expertise in health and medical matters related to vascular medicine is committed to providing comprehensive care and accurate diagnosis for patients battling lymphedema.

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic condition characterized by the accumulation of lymphatic fluid, resulting in swelling and tissue damage. It typically affects the arms or legs, but can also occur in other parts of the body. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and causes of lymphedema is crucial for an early diagnosis and effective management.

Diagnostic Methods

Diagnosing lymphedema requires a thorough examination and evaluation by a skilled healthcare professional. Our doctors at Vein Center of Arizona employ various diagnostic methods to accurately identify and assess lymphedema cases:

Medical History

During the diagnosis process, our doctors will review the patient's medical history, including any significant injuries, surgeries, or infections. Understanding the patient's background helps in determining the potential causes of lymphedema and creates a comprehensive picture for further evaluation.

Physical Examination

A physical examination is conducted to assess the extent of swelling, skin changes, and any related discomfort experienced by the patient. The doctors at Vein Center of Arizona carefully evaluate the affected areas, checking for specific characteristics associated with lymphedema that aid in diagnosis.

Measurement of Limb Volume

Accurate measurement of limb volume is crucial in diagnosing lymphedema. Our clinic employs various techniques such as water displacement or perometer - a device that measures limb circumference. These methods provide quantitative data, helping to assess the severity of the condition and monitor treatment progress over time.

Imaging Techniques

In some cases, advanced imaging techniques like lymphoscintigraphy or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be required to visualize the lymphatic system and identify any blockages or abnormalities. These imaging procedures provide valuable insights into the lymphatic system's function and aid in confirming the lymphedema diagnosis.

Medical Terminology

When it comes to diagnosing lymphedema, understanding the relevant medical terminology is essential. Here are some key terms you might come across:

  • Lymph: The transparent fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system. It carries vital nutrients, immune cells, and waste products.
  • Lymphatic System: A network of vessels, glands, and organs that help transport lymph throughout the body, playing a crucial role in the immune response.
  • Lymph Nodes: Small, bean-shaped structures that filter lymph and house immune cells. They can become enlarged in response to infection or other medical conditions.
  • Edema: The medical term for swelling caused by excess fluid accumulation in body tissues.
  • Lymphangitis: Inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, often caused by a bacterial infection, resulting in red streaks along the affected vessels.
  • Lymphoscintigraphy: A diagnostic test that uses a radioactive tracer to evaluate the flow of lymph and identify any blockages or abnormalities.


With a better understanding of diagnosing lymphedema, you can now appreciate the importance of early detection and accurate diagnosis. At Vein Center of Arizona, our dedicated doctors specializing in vascular medicine and lymphedema are equipped with the expertise and diagnostic tools necessary to provide comprehensive care for patients suffering from this condition. Remember, if you suspect lymphedema, it is crucial to consult a medical professional promptly for an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

Constance Pedron
This article cleared up all my questions about lymphedema.
Nov 9, 2023
Great explanation, very informative!
Nov 8, 2023
Pat Borree
I had no idea about lymphedema before, but this article explained it perfectly! Thanks!
Nov 4, 2023
Amy Bailer
Great article! 🙌 Very informative and helpful in understanding lymphedema and its diagnosis. 👍
Oct 29, 2023