Lymphedema Specialist

Robert Kwon, MD -  - Hand Surgeon

Southwest Hand and Microsurgery

Robert Kwon, MD

Hand Surgeon located in Plano, TX

If you’re dealing with discomfort, restricted range of motion, and swelling in your arm, you might have lymphedema, a buildup of lymphatic fluid, and Robert K. Kwon, MD can offer solutions. Dr. Kwon is a skilled hand surgeon at Southwest Hand and Microsurgery in Plano, Texas, providing surgical treatments for lymphedema. To see if Dr. Kwon can relieve your lymphedema symptoms, call Southwest Hand and Microsurgery or schedule an appointment online today.

Lymphedema Q & A

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a condition that affects the lymphatic system.

Your lymphatic system keeps you healthy by circulating lymph fluid throughout your body. This protein-rich fluid collects viruses, bacteria, and other waste products before carrying them through your lymph vessels to drain lymph fluid. Your lymph nodes then filter out the remaining waste and flush it from your system.

When you have lymphedema, your lymph vessels don’t adequately drain this protein-rich fluid, so your arms or legs begin to swell.

Lymphedema can either occur on its own or because of another disease or condition. It’s very common following breast cancer surgery.

What causes lymphedema?

In rare cases, lymphedema appears because of inherited problems with your lymph vessels. Most of the time, however, you develop lymphedema because of another condition. This is called secondary lymphedema.

The most common cause of secondary lymphedema is the removal of the lymph nodes during cancer treatment. Additional triggers include:

  • Trauma to the area
  • Radiation for cancer treatment
  • Blockages of the lymphatic vessels, like tumors
  • Infections or parasites restricting the flow of lymphatic fluid

Your risk of developing lymphedema also increases with age, if you’re overweight or obese, or if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the symptoms of lymphedema?

In addition to swelling in the fingers, arms, toes, and legs, lymphedema causes a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Tightness or heaviness
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Discomfort or achiness
  • Thickening or hardening of the skin

Lymphedema swelling can range from mild to severe. In some cases, it can take months or years for it to develop after you have cancer treatment.

How is lymphedema diagnosed and treated?

In many cases, you can control lymphedema through compression garments, exercise, massage, or medication. If your condition doesn’t respond to conservative therapies, or your symptoms are severe, Dr. Kwon offers several surgical treatments to control your symptoms.

Lymphaticovenular bypass

During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Kwon redirects the fluid to small veins to drain and provide a stable system for future drainage.  

Lymphovenous bypass

In this procedure, Dr. Kwon uses a microscope to connect blocked lymphatic vessels as small as 0.3 mm wide to a nearby vein.

Lymph node transfer

Dr. Kwon uses microsurgery to transfer a healthy lymph node to the area affected and connect it to the large network of blood vessels.

To learn more about surgical treatments for lymphedema, call Southwest Hand and Microsurgery or schedule an appointment online today.

Conditions & Treatments