Newly Diagnosed (maybe)

Hi All, I had an anterior hip replacement in April, had the typical swelling around surgical area and both feet swelling. The swelling went away when it should have, hip is good, all seemed well. A couple months later I developed both sided foot/ankle/toe edema +4. Waited it out, didn't go away. Other causes were ruled out, saw venous surgeon. He said it's lymphedema, clue being "it's the only edema that causes toe swelling." Asked if had recent groin surgery... But I read up, I find after a surgery or when lymphedema first begins it would be 1 sided. My lymphedema PT agrees it's too new to have gone to non surgical side already. She feels no hardness, signs of lymphedema, examined from upper thigh to toes.

I researched hip replacement complications, am in a support group for it, not one word on lymphedema being "side affect"/complication, that is, from injury.

Now will see a Physiatrist/Rehab doc who specializes in lymphedema for another opinion.

I could really use info and other's experience on the 1 side vs 2 sidedness edema within 3-4 months of a surgery. Was yours on one side only? If the other side latter developed lymphedema how long did it take post surgery? Thank you!

4 Replies

  • Hi there be . I've had to think back a lot of years ! I had cervical cancer and had a radical hysterectomy followed by three more operations after complications. As a result I was in hospital a long time and had heparin injections in my legs on a daily basis . My swelling did start in that short period of time if I can remember rightly in both of my ankles at first although it wasn't in my feet at all for many years . It then progressed from there and I was diagnosed with lymphoedema quite quickly . At the time I thought the swelling was due to me being bed bound . Whether there was a mixture of both I don't know . I'm not sure if this helps or not

  • It's very helpful. Not the answer I wished for but I need to know. I'm glad you got through all of that medical difficultly. Congratulations.

  • Hi Liz11. I have seen plenty of patients with venous incompetence who have toe swelling. If your vascular consultant is happy you have no problem with your arteries or any heart or kidney problem, it would be worth you wearing below knee compression to see if it contains the oedema. Venous incompetence means that the veins in your legs don't work efficiently at pumping blood back up the legs and the lymphatic system gets overloaded trying to help out. This could explain your swelling.

    One sided lymphoedema would be expected if, for instance, you had lymph nodes in the groin removed because of a cancer diagnosis. However, experts are beginning to believe that some people may have a lymphatic system less able to cope and having an event like a hip replacement tips the system over the edge. This could explain why some women who have lymph nodes removed for breast cancer develop lymphoedema and some don't, but more research is needed.

    It is a complicated topic and you may have a bit of both, veins that don't work efficiently and a likelihood of developing lymphoedema. However, it is best if you treat the problem and not wait to see if it goes away. Best Wishes

  • Fantastic info. You are clearly well educated on the topic. The venous surgeon I saw specializes in v insufficiency but that was negative. At first he could not ID my edema pattern. He showed me a photo chart and lymphedema foot top was raised like a half moon. Mine is more evenly distributed. I understand the incompetence idea & it makes much sense. I've been sitting around way too much and not putting up my legs which no doubt exacerbated what my tendency is to begin with. About to change that. Yes was advised to use ankle stockings ("knee" but below).

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