Dr. Bliss H. Murphy
Teresene Walsh Oakley
Lymphedema is swelling due to an accumulation of lymphatic fluid. It is the result of trauma and/or damage or the absence of the normal lymphatic anatomy. It is described as:
“A chronic, debilitating condition in which excess fluid called lymph collects in tissues and causes swelling.”
Lymphedema can be inherited (primary), or caused by damage to the lymphatic system (secondary), often as a result of treatment for various types of cancers.
The stages of lymphedema are:
This is a sub-clinical stage. Swelling is not visible but lymphatic transport is impaired. It can be characterized by feelings of tightness and pain. This stage may exist for months or years before swelling can be seen.
This is an early accumulation of fluid which is high in protein content. Swelling may come and go. The edema could be pitting. Sometimes it is helped by elevation.
Limb elevation rarely reduces edema. The edema may or may not be pitting. Fibrosis may begin and the limb hardens and increases in size.
At this stage the limb is very large and the tissues hard and unresponsive. Pitting does not occur. Skin changes such as thickening and wart overgrowths can occur. This stage can also be called lymphostatic elephantiasis. This is resistant to treatment.
LANL was established in 2014 to:
provide support to patients and families who are affected by lymphedema,
ensure individuals living with lymphedema have access to treatment, provide lymphedema education, encourage and promote lymphedema research, and promote care and treatment of lymphedema based on best practices within the medical community and the general public of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Disclaimer: This site is for information and community support only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the advice of your physician with any question about a health problem or medical condition. This site also includes links to websites providing information about lymphedema, but the LANL cannot be responsible for the content of those sites.Copyright 2013. Lymphedema Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. All Rights Reserved.