Lymphedema is a medical condition resulting in tissue swelling. This swelling is caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that’s usually drained through the body’s lymphatic system. It most commonly affects the arms or legs.
Damage to lymph nodes can be caused by obesity, vein conditions such as varicose veins, as well as cancer treatments that remove or damage your lymph nodes. Any type of problem that blocks the drainage of lymph fluid can cause lymphedema.
Lymphedema increases the risks of skin infections such as cellulitis and sepsis, it is also a common cause of chronic wounds. Treatment may include compression bandages, massage, compression stockings, sequential pneumatic pumping, careful skincare and, rarely, surgery to remove swollen tissue or to create new drainage routes.