Arm lymphostasis is a serious disease that persistent swelling causes. Let’s look at the causes of the disease, methods of treatment and preventive measures that will get rid of lymphostasis.
Lymphostasis is a persistent swelling of tissues, which is formed due to disturbances in the outflow of lymph, that is, tissue fluid. As a rule, lymphostasis affects the lower limbs.
There are several factors that can be a direct cause of lymphostasis:
- Surgical operations in which lymph nodes were removed.
- Problems with lymphatic and venous vessels.
There are several stages of lymphostasis, each stage has its own symptoms and features. The last stage of lymphostasis is elephantiasis or elephant disease. This condition is characterized by a strong increase and thickening of the limb volume, as well as trophic disorders of the subcutaneous tissue and skin and, as a result, the patient’s disability.
Edema, which becomes the main symptom of lymphostasis, occurs due to a minor inflammatory process. For example, after a bruise, there may be swelling of the soft tissues, this is due to the influx of lymphatic fluid.
After some time, the puffiness comes off, for this use compresses, injections and drugs. But there are disorders that are associated with the work of the lymphatic system and then any injury can lead to violations of lymph outflow. In patients with lymphostasis of the arm, chronic edema is observed, which significantly violates the structure of the skin. It condenses the upper layer, which ultimately causes ulcers, and progresses to elephant disease.
Causes of lymphostasis of the arm
Causes of lymphostasis of the hand are based on injuries and damage to the lymphatic system. As a rule, it is burns, bruises, surgeries, fractures, sprains or sprains. Also, the causes of lymphostasis of the arm include:
- Benign and malignant tumors of the lymphatic system.
- Injuries in which lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels were damaged.
- Parasitic or staphylococcal infections.
- Irradiation with cancer.
- Surgeries in which there was damage to the lymphatic system.
Depending on the cause and type of damage to the lymphatic system, there are two types of lymphostasis: primary and secondary.
Causes of primary lymphostasis of the hand – an abnormality of the lymphatic system and blood vessels, as a rule, congenital. The disease can not be determined in the first years of life, it begins to manifest itself during puberty.
The causes of secondary lymphostasis are not inborn, and any healthy person can acquire them. These include: tumors in the lymphatic system, injuries, chronic diseases, a sedentary lifestyle (this applies to bed patients), erysipelas of the hands, chest surgery, obesity.
Lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy
Mastectomy is the removal of a breast due to a malignant tumor. When the breast is removed, the lymph nodes under the arm can be removed. This leads to a violation of the outflow of lymphatic fluid, that is, to lymphostasis of the arm after mastectomy. If during mastectomy, lymph nodes that are located in the axillary cavities are irradiated, then this also causes lymphostasis.
Due to impaired lymphatic drainage, that is, damage to the drainage and lymph nodes, persistent and severe swelling of the arm appears. If the swelling has gone a couple of months after the mastectomy, then we are talking about postmastectomy lymphostasis. If the edema does not come off, and does not respond to treatment, then we are talking about lymphedema. Lymphostasis does not appear in every woman who has undergone a mastectomy, but if he has appeared, she can accompany her throughout her life or leave in months, or even years of struggle with the disease.
The danger of lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy is that edema can cause hand deformation and is often accompanied by inflammatory processes. Postmastectomy lymphoses cause a lot of inconvenience to patients and cause stressful situations and depressions during the treatment period.
If the lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy appears in the first year of treatment, then, as a rule, it is not dangerous and can be treated. The puffiness is mild, but it is accompanied by a bursting, aching pain and heaviness in the hand, this all gives a lot of inconvenience. If the time is not taken for the treatment of lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy, the disease will go into a stage of severe dense lymphostasis, the treatment of which is a longer and painstaking process.
Why does lymphostasis appear after mastectomy?
When a mastectomy is removed, not only the chest, but also the lymphatic, blood vessels, nodes, which received and gave the lymph from the mammary glands. After the chest and lymph nodes are removed, the body crashes.
- The size of the lymph nodes to be removed may be different, it all depends on the stage and form of the tumor and its localization. In very severe cases, it is possible to remove the pectoralis major muscle and lymph nodes of the 3rd level.
- Lymph nodes are removed because there is a possibility that cancer cells are located in the lymphatic system. And if you remove them, then in the future you can avoid the recurrence of cancer.
- To determine if the lymph nodes are cancer cells, it is possible only after their removal. Oncologist conducts histological studies of remote lymph nodes and mammary gland.
- Lymphostasis during mastectomy occurs due to a malfunction in the body. After the lymph nodes have been removed, the body does not cease to direct the lymph, but all of it accumulates in the shoulder and arm.
It is impossible to predict the outcome of the operation. There are cases when, after complete removal of the lymph nodes and muscle tissue during mastectomy, lymphostasis does not occur. But it happens the other way around, when the slightest interference with the lymphatic system causes the strongest lymphostasis of the arm.
Symptoms of lymphostasis of the arm
Symptoms of lymphostasis of the hand depend on the stage of development of lymphostasis. Let’s look at the stages of the disease and the symptoms that accompany it.
- Easy swelling on the arm, which appears in the late afternoon and comes down after sleep, that is, in the morning.
- Puffiness appears constantly, but at this stage patients rarely seek medical help.
- In the first stage, connective growths have not yet begun, therefore, when seeking medical help, further development of lymphostasis can be prevented.
- Irreversible swelling appears on the arm.
- Connective tissues grow, and the skin on the arm hardens.
- Because of the swelling, the skin on the arm is swollen and stretched, this causes pain in the arm.
- As a rule, at this stage, patients seek medical help.
- Treatment is possible, but requires full compliance with the recommendations and great effort.
- The disease becomes irreversible
- All the symptoms described in the first and second stages are worse.
- Wounds and cysts appear on the arm.
- Fingers are deformed, that is, limbostomy appears.
- The hand becomes inactive due to the development of elephant disease.
- Eczema, ulcers, or erysipelas may also occur.
Symptoms of lymphostasis of the hand are completely dependent on the stage at which the disease is located. With each stage, the symptoms become dangerous and irreversible and entail a lot of complications, in very difficult cases, death is possible.
Diagnosis of lymphostasis of the arm
Diagnosing arm lymphostasis begins by examining the symptoms of the disease and conducting a full examination of the arm. In the diagnosis it is necessary to make a biochemical analysis of blood and urine and clinical analysis. It is necessary to consult a vascular surgeon and conduct a full examination of the chest cavity, small pelvis, peritoneum, veins and extremities. In order to finally confirm the diagnosis of lymphostasis, and to know the reasons for its occurrence, lymphography of the lymphatic system and lymphatic vessels is performed.
- At the first sign of lymphostasis of the arm, that is, when the appearance of puffiness, you should immediately contact a vascular surgeon, lymphologist or phlebologist. The doctor will be able to reliably determine the cause of the swelling, and in the case of progressive lymphoma, prescribe a complex of tests and ultrasound.
- When diagnosing arm lymphostasis and studying vascular patency, a lympho scintigraph is used, in other words, X-ray lymphography. This technique allows you to observe changes in the lymphatic system and to find places of vascular occlusion.
- Lymphostasis of the hand can be confused with deep vein thrombosis or post-phlebitic syndrome. In all cases, there are varicose dilatations, mild swelling, unilateral lymphedema and hyperpigmentation. In order to accurately diagnose lymphostasis of the arm, ultrasonic ultrasound of the limbs and veins is performed.
Treatment of lymphostasis of the arm
Treatment of lymphostasis of the hand depends on what stage the disease is at. Arm lymphostasis is a strong, in some cases, irreversible swelling that occurs due to damaged lymphatic system and lymph nodes. Swelling on the arm may also occur due to the inflammatory process, after a bruise or a blow. Swelling occurs due to an influx of lymph to the affected area.
As a rule, the edemas pass away on their own, but in the case of lymphostasis edema, swelling can be eliminated only with the help of drugs and only in the early stages of the disease. But lymphostasis can cause not only a bruise or a burn, but also a disease of the lymphatic system, which is characterized by impaired lymph outflow.
The treatment of lymphostasis of the arm is completely aimed at stopping the swelling and returning the arm to normal, without complications. The speed and effectiveness of treatment depend on timely treatment for medical help and diagnosis of lymphostasis. The course of treatment provides for the complete implementation of all rules and recommendations, which include therapy, drug treatment and the patient’s desire. Lymphostasis of the hand is usually treated with conservative methods, which are aimed at creating all the conditions that will help, clean the lymphatic vessels and bring the lymphatic pathways and nodes to a normal working condition.
Treatment of lymphostasis of the arm consists of:
- Comprehensive drug therapy.
- The use of manual lymphatic drainage, which helps to carry out the outflow of lymph from the affected area.
- Care of the affected hand, use of ointments and creams.
- Selection of a special compression bandage and linen.
- The complex of therapeutic exercises and massage.
In some cases, for the treatment of lymphostasis of the arm involves pneumomassage or lymphopress. The procedure is carried out under strict medical supervision. Also, for the treatment of lymphostasis use laser therapy, electromagnetic stimulation, which have a positive effect on the lymphatic system. Launched lymphostasis, that is, lymphostasis of the arm in the latter stages, is practically not treatable. In the latter stages of the disease, osteopathic visceral techniques are used as a treatment, which can reduce the swelling and improve the flow and flow of lymph.
Treatment of lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy
Treatment of lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy begins after the stage of lymphostasis has been determined. Lymphostasis after mastectomy is dense and soft. Mild lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy is a reversible swelling that can be treated and may occur within a year after surgery. If mild lymphostasis was not cured, then it develops into an irreversible form of the disease – dense lymphostasis.
Dense lymphostasis of the arm is directly related to scars, which are formed in the lymph node area, after undergoing a course of radiation therapy, which is used to treat mastectomy. Many doctors argue that the appearance of a dense lymphostasis of the arm after mastectomy is the first sign that the cancer cells have not gone away, that is, a recurrence of oncology is possible.
In the process of treating lymphostasis, it is very important to restore lymph outflow. To do this, connect the collaterals, which provide normal blood circulation and lymph outflow. Another treatment method is physical therapy. The complex of therapeutic exercises is recommended to begin one week after the mastectomy. This kind of rehabilitation should be carried out at all stages of lymphostasis of the hand. In the first days after the removal of the mammary gland, it is very difficult to carry out remedial gymnastics, as the body hurts and the hands do not obey. But the sooner you begin to practice gymnastics, the more likely it is to avoid the appearance of lymphostasis. Exercise will improve the flow of lymph, increase the elasticity of the tissues of the shoulder and arm, help eliminate spasms that occur in the muscles.
It would not be superfluous to visit the pool and undergo a course of treatment with the use of a compression sleeve, which helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Please note that the main treatment of lymphostasis of the hand after mastectomy is a special gymnastics, massages and physical education, and only then medical treatment.
Hand massage for lymphostasis
Hand massage for lymphostasis can be done both by the patient himself and by any person who knows the skills and nuances of the therapeutic massage. As a rule, when mastectomy and lymphostasis, when leaving the hospital, the patient and one of the family members instruct on the massage of the arm and the technique of its execution.
Let’s look at the options for massaging hands with lymphostasis:
- Raise up your arm that has puffiness or the arm that has mastectomy on its side. Rest your hand on a vertical surface. With your second hand, gently massage and stroke your sore hand. This should be done from the fingers to the shoulder and from the elbow to the shoulder, but not all over the arm. Sometimes, with such a massage, medical ointments and creams are used.
- Massaging the arm is necessary from all sides. Carefully work the sides of the arm, inner and outer. Massage movements should be soft, slow, there should be a slight pressure on the subcutaneous tissue. But this does not mean that the arm should be squeezed tightly. During the massage, you should not feel any discomfort or pain.
The duration of a massage procedure is about 5 minutes. It is recommended to do massage every 2-3 hours, depending on the stage of lymphostasis and the type of puffiness.
Treatment of lymphostasis of the hand folk remedies
Treatment of lymphostasis of the hand with folk remedies is a treatment that has developed over the years. That is, it is safe to say that traditional methods of treatment are a proven panacea for lymphostasis of the hand. Let’s look at the most effective recipes that are used in the treatment of lymphostasis folk remedies.
Treatment with plantain
- 2 tablespoons of dried plantain leaves
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon honey
Fill the night with plantain leaves with boiling water and let it brew. In the morning, strain the decoction. Take need 30 minutes before meals. Before you drink the decoction, you need to eat a spoon of honey, it enhances the therapeutic effect of tincture. Drink decoction is recommended for two months.
- 1 tablespoon of tar
- 1 onion head
Onion must be baked in the oven, and the onion must be baked in the husk. After the onion is cooked, it must be cleaned and mixed with tar. Spread the mixture on a thick layer of gauze bandage and apply it overnight to lymphostasis on your arm. In the morning you need to remove the bandage, wipe your hand with warm water and make a light massage. Traditional medicine recommends taking honey before applying a compress and after removing it. Honey actively fights hands lymphostasis, accelerates and enhances the effect of other medical procedures. Repeat the procedure, it is recommended for a month or two.
- 250 grams of minced fresh garlic
- 350 grams of liquid honey
Ingredients must be mixed and infused for one week. To take the mixture you need one tablespoon an hour before meals, the course of treatment is 60 days.
Treatment of lymphostasis of the hand with folk remedies supposes the intake of tinctures and lotions to the affected arm from herbs and plants that contain vitamin C and P. These vitamins help to liquefy the lymph and improve its outflow and flow through the lymphatic system. Use pomegranate juice, decoctions of currants, cranberries and rosehip. Eat fruits and drink red juices, as they contain a lot of vitamin P: grapes, beet juice, currants, mountain ash.
Gymnastics with lymphostasis of the arm
Gymnastics with lymphostasis of the arm is an obligatory therapy, without which full treatment is simply impossible. We offer you a complex of medical gymnastics, which is recommended to do with lymphostasis of the arm. Each exercise must be done five times ten times – this is the optimal exercise, which will contribute to improve lymph flow and relieve pain in the arm.
- Put your hands on your knees, so that your palms are looking down, keep your elbows level. Slowly turn the palm, from the back to the outside. Please note that fingers should be as relaxed as possible.
- Put your hands behind your back and put it in the lock. The arms should be bent at the elbows, and the palms should be pressed to the back. Slowly tighten the palms of your hands to the shoulder blades.
- Hands on your knees, elbows straight, alternately squeeze and unclench fists.
- Raise your hand up, hold it in front of you, slowly lower it. Observe breathing technique, slow inhale and exhale.
- Strap your hands behind your back in a lock on straight elbows. Move your hands up, so that the shoulder blades at the same time were reduced.
- Put your hands on your shoulders, slowly lower and raise.
- Put your hands on your shoulders and make circular movements with your arms and shoulders, back and forth.
- Stand up, tilt the case and lower the sore arm. Completely relax your hand and swing it from side to side and back and forth.
- Raise your sore arm up and stay in that position for a couple of seconds, then move your hand to the side and stay again.
In addition to gymnastics, preventive measures are very important for the treatment and prevention of lymphostasis.
- When lymphostasis of the arm is very important to observe the rules of hygiene and regularly care for the affected limb. Remove nails and corns, disinfect used instruments to minimize infection in the lymph.
- Avoid injury, burns, scratches and any kind of damage. Try not to overheat, as this will only strengthen the lymphatic edema.
- Keep a mobile lifestyle, as sitting in one place or lying can cause stagnation of the lymph in the body and only complicate the disease.
- Use a variety of nourishing and moisturizing creams, it will save your hand from cracks and dryness.
- Follow the diet and nutritional rules, this is an important part of the complex treatment of lymphostasis of the hand.
Lymphostasis of the arm does not make a person disabled. Lymphostasis does not interfere with everyday activities and an active lifestyle. Be patient and follow all the rules of treatment, nutrition and gymnastics, and you can cure lymphostasis of the hand.