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Disease Information : Lymphedema : Diagnosis

Lymphedema : Diagnosis

How is Lymphedema diagnosed?

Lymphedema is generally diagnosed on the basis of the medical history and physical examination. Lymphedema must be differentiated from other causes of limb swelling, including venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis (blood clot), congestive heart failure, other medical conditions such as kidney, liver, or thyroid disease, and enlargement of the legs due to extra fat (called lipidema). In some cases, additional diagnostic testing is necessary, such as lymph scan known as lymphoscintigraphy.  Lymphoscintigraphy can be used to detect blockages in the lymph vessels or the absence of lymph vessel. This test requires a small amount of radioactive material to be injected through a small needle into the hand or foot. Except for minor discomfort and skin injection, this test is not otherwise dangerous or painful. Other tests may be performed to exclude the other causes of leg swelling, such as a CAT scan or MRI, blood tests, or an ultrasound to exclude the presence of a blood clot. 

Lymphedema section was last modified: December 21, 2010 - 05:43 pm

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