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Lymphedema (cont.)

Exams and Tests

The diagnosis of lymphedema is often obvious given the history of a surgical procedure or other condition that includes damage to lymph nodes. A careful physical examination and medical history will be necessary to rule out other conditions that can cause limb swelling, such as kidney or heart failure.

In some cases, specialized imaging tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis or obtain information about the cause of lymphedema. These may include:

  • CT or MRI scans

  • Doppler ultrasound scans, which can identify deep blood clots that may cause limb swelling

  • Lymphoscintigraphy, which is a test that illustrates the flow of fluid in lymph vessels. A tracer dye is injected into lymph vessels prior to imaging studies.

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