Lymphedema is a slow onset, progressive disease characterized by an asymmetrical, inflammatory swelling, traveling distal to proximal, that can affect any body part including arms, legs, trunk, head/neck and genitals
A primary role of the lymphatic system is to transport proteins from the extravascular space to the heart. When the transport capacity of the lymphatic system is reduced, proteins accumulate outside the circulation (extravascular space). Accumulated proteins attract water which produces a high protein containing fluid that builds up underneath the skin (subcutaneous tissue) called lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a slowly progressive disorder that can lead to significant disfigurement of the extremities and other body parts. Lymphedema is generally incurable but very manageable condition that requires lifelong care and attention along with psychosocial support.