Lymphedema refers to a situation where there is distention of lymphatic tissues.
Lymphedema occurs from accumulation of interstitial and lymphatic fluid within the skin and subcutaneous tissue. This then stimulates fibroblasts, keratinocytes and adipocytes which in turn result in deposition of collagen and glycosaminoglycans within the skin and subcutaneous tissue which could then lead to skin hypertrophy and destruction of elastic fibers.
It has has traditionally been defined as interstitial oedema and protein accumulation due to a defect in the lymphatic drainage. More recent findings suggest that the interstitial protein concentration may be low in some types of lymphoedema.
Lymphedema has been classified in the number of ways,
- primary lymphoedema: occurs by an inherent defect in lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes.
- secondary lymphedema: occurs fomr damage to the lymphatic system (most often caused by cancer or its treatment)
- primary lymphedema
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