“Think of this “bottle-neck” as the backup on the 5 fwy on Friday night rush hour,” said Kim Marshall, DPT, CLT co-owner of Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation. “When the venous system gets backed up, it impacts the ability of the lymphatic system to get rid of lipids, proteins and waste products. This in turn causes the lymph system to spill over into the surrounding tissue which becomes thick and heavy leading to diseased fatty tissue called hypertrophy. The only way to really get rid of it is with a lipectomy that removes the fat through suction. Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) can help with the swelling, but lymph-sparing lipectomy may be indicated to remove excessive fatty tissue.
“In fact, any time an individual has swelling or pain in the left leg without a known cause, May-Thurner syndrome is something that should always be discussed with a health care provider,” she added. “More importantly, for any person with swelling in any body part and unable to get relief, they should consider an evaluation with a vascular surgeon and subsequently with a certified lymphedema specialist to better assess their situation, provide advanced treatments and appropriate referrals when warranted.”