How to Treat Lymphedema

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

If you live with recurring leg swelling, you may have a condition known as lymphedema. Many people suffer for years without realizing that there are non-invasive lymphedema treatment options available to improve your condition and help control recurrent leg swelling flares. Learn about your options for professional lymphedema treatment in Central Georgia at Vein Specialists of the South, located in Downtown Macon and Warner Robins.

Professional Lymphedema Treatment In Central Georgia

At Vein Specialists of the South (VSS), many of our patients complain of leg swelling. That makes sense when you realize the most common cause for leg swelling in patients over 50 is vein disease.

But if you have swelling, you may have a different kind of swelling called lymphedema. Don’t worry; at VSS, our team members are experts at determining the source of your leg swelling. With the help of a full medical history, physical exam, and duplex ultrasound, we can determine the underlying cause of your swelling and recommend the appropriate treatment protocols. That may mean a venous procedure, other diagnostic testing and treatment, or referral to our in-house lymphedema therapy specialists.

VSS is one of a few phlebology practices in the country that offers comprehensive vein care including lymphedema therapy. Dr. Kenneth Harper is a Diplomat of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, and Barbara Jones OTR-L and Sonia Bearden, COTA-L are both certified in lymphedema care with over 40 years of combined experience. In this setting we are uniquely qualified to be your lymphedema care specialists.

Your VSS Lymphedema team offers a full range of treatment options including:

  • lymphatic drainage massage
  • wound care
  • compression sleeves
  • multi-layered compression wrapping therapy
  • pneumatic compression pump treatments

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

lymphatic drainage massage for great legsYour lymphedema therapist will use manual lymphatic drainage massage techniques to help reduce inflammation caused by fluid retention. The massage movements guide fluid to flush the area and remove waste fluids. These regular massages help reduce leg swelling over time and improve symptoms.

Your lymphedema therapist can also show you how to perform massages at home to relieve symptoms and maintain comfort between appointments.

Compression Sleeves & Multi-Layered Compression Wrapping For Lymphedema Treatment

We will likely recommend compression hose for daily wear and use. These compression garments help provide pressure in the right areas of the legs to encourage lymphatic flow and drainage to reduce swelling. Compression also helps reduce pain, heaviness, and other physical discomfort associated with lymphedema.

In some cases, a customized, multi-layered compression sleeve or bandage may be recommended.

Lymphedema Compression Pump

For patients who need more intensive compression therapy, compression pumps are an excellent solution. Lymphedema compression pumps may be used in our practice, but we may also recommend that you acquire one for home use.

At Vein Specialists of the South, we use graduated segmental pneumatic compression. The intermittent segmental compression on the legs encourage healthier lymphatic flow and reduced fluid pooling.

Lymphedema Occupational Therapy

Our in-house occupational therapy team is prepared to provide you with additional treatment and support for your lymphedema.

Lymphedema Treatment FAQs


Once you realize you have lymphedema, you most likely will do a lot of research related to lymphedema causes, symptoms and treatments; however, it can be difficult to find accurate, trustworthy information online. We have compiled a short list of common questions with answers below. We highly recommend, however, that you discuss your questions and concerns about your condition and lymphedema treatment options with one of our providers.

Do Any Over-The-Counter Lymphedema Products Really Work?

There are many products, such as topical oils and vitamins, that claim to treat lymphedema. Approach all products with great care and discuss any commercial products with your lymphedema therapist and physician prior to use.

essential oils for lymphedema treatmentEssential Oils for Lymphedema: Some people claim that aromatherapy with genuine (not synthetic) essential oils can provide relief. However, there is no scientific data to support aromatherapy as a lymphedema treatment. If you would like to use essential oils for lymphedema massage instead of other oils or lotions, this is likely safe. Be sure to follow instructions on the bottle, such as diluting the oil prior to applying it to your skin. If you notice any skin irritation, stop use immediately.

Vitamins and Herbs for Lymphedema: Supplement companies market herbal remedies and vitamins that claim to treat lymphedema. Butcher’s Broom, Diosmin, and Hesperidin are all marketed as lymphedema treatment remedies. However, there is insufficient evidence supporting their claims. While it may seem harmless to take natural supplements “just in case,” note that negative interactions between medications and supplements can occur. If you are considering any new supplements, discuss them with a physician and your pharmacists to make sure they’re safe for you.

Will You Help Me Pinpoint Causes And Signs Of Lymphedema Flares To Control Recurrent Swelling?

Yes. Part of our evaluation and ongoing treatments is to help you determine what causes your flare ups so you can avoid and control them. We will also provide you with a list of recommended lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms.

Is Lymphedema Surgery An Option?

There are surgical options for patients who haven’t responded well to non-invasive lymphedema treatment. These intricate micro-surgeries are reserved for advanced cases. There are two options for lymphedema surgery:

  1.  Vascularized lymph node transfer surgery, which involves transferring working lymph nodes from another part of the body to the area affected by advanced lymphedema.
  2.  Lymphaticovenular bypass surgery, which involves implanting a shunt to redirect fluid from the affected area to other areas of the body.
  3.  Debulking procedures, which involves microsurgery to resect symptomatic lymphedema nodules that cannot be controlled with conservative care.


We do not offer these treatments at Vein Specialists of the South; however, Dr. Harper’s network of lymphedema specialists extends worldwide and includes some of the most prominent practitioners in the world. We can assist you with a referral should we mutually determine that lymphedema surgery may be right for you.

What Can I Do At Home To Supplement My In-Office Lymphedema Treatment?

We will provide you with a list of recommended lifestyle changes to help you improve your condition. This list may include:

  • recommended exercises
  • self-massage
  • compression therapy
  • diet changes


We can recommend at-home lymphatic compression pumps and compression wraps that you can purchase. In some cases, insurance may cover these expenses and provide you with immense relief in between appointments.

Schedule An Evaluation For Lymphedema Treatment In Central Georgia

If you have been diagnosed with lymphedema or if you have unexplained leg swelling, pain, heaviness, or other suspicious leg symptoms, contact Vein Specialists of the South. Our Central Georgia lymphedema therapists and vein specialists will provide you with an extensive evaluation to determine what is causing your condition and the best approach to your care.

Don’t live with the pain and discomfort of lymphedema and venous disease. Call Vein Specialists of the South today at (478) 845-2025 to begin your journey toward better legs and Better Veins for Life®.

Over 18,000 Procedures Performed

Dr. Kenneth Harper, founder of Vein Specialists of the South, has evaluated more than 22,000 patients and performed over 18,000 procedures since 2000. Dr. Harper is a leader in comprehensive vein care, having focused on diagnosis and treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, venous ulcers, and leg swelling since 1997.


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