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Lymphoedema - Marbella Veins

What is Lymphoedema?

When blood reaches the microcapillaries in the skin, the blood pressure forces a protein rich fluid called lymph to leave the blood vessels and transport nutrients to the tissues. Lymph flows through the body's tissues and then drains into the lymphanic channels which collect join together and ultimately drain back into the blood system by draining into the large veins in  the upper chest near the heart. As the lymph travels back to  the heart and great veins it passes through a number of lymph nodes which filter the fluid to remove debris, foreign tissue, bacteria and viruses. The term lymphoedema refers to t he clinical condition where swelling occurs in an extremity secondary to an excess of lymph. The condition can occur from either an overproduction of lymph, impaired removal or loss of transport back to the heart. In severe cases, the limb can become massively enlarged and this is termed elephantitis.

Lymphoedema can become complicated by infection or ulceration and can become a disabling condition. It is important that your clinical team differentiate between lymphoedema and venous disease as the cause of your leg swelling as the two conditions require completelt different treatments.

Causes and Symptoms of Lymphoedema


The condition can be permenant or reversible. Diagnosis is by appearance and made by excluding other causes of led swelling.

Chronic lymphoedema can be difficult to control or treat. Swollen limbs become vulterable to infection thus any injury to the skin such as a cut, abrasion, scratch, insect bite or fungal infection can cause a severe infection. This is often referred to as cellulitis or lymphangitis ( a condition which appears as red streaks running up the inside of the leg and thigh) and is usually accompanied by a painful swollen leg with fever and chills. It results in further destruction of existing lymphatic channels and intensifies the inadequacy of lymph drainage that is the basic cause of the lymphedema. As swelling becomes worse, tissues in the leg become hardened, and the swelling becomes fixed. This is called fibrosis, a characteristic of advanced chronic lymphedema.


Treatment of lymphedema requires intensive use of external support on the extremity and is only successful in those diligent about following instructions to treat the problem. Attempts at curative surgical procedures to repair the affected lymphatic channels have not been successful enough to gain wide acceptance. Present day management provides control of the problem in most cases by use of external support, frequent leg elevation, and lymphatic massage. Specially designed lymphatic pumps apply pressure through sleeves worn on the extremity. These measures require detailed and supervised programs of patient education by physicians and therapists who have the time and resources to adjust the treatment to fit the individual unique situation.

Book Your Consultation With Us Today

Book your consultation and visit one of our clinics, where our dedicated Patient Co-ordinators will answer all your questions about Lymphoedema.

A Consultation with our Surgeon is necessary to find out your best treatment options. Our belief is that you should consult with a qualified specialist for their expert opinion to achieve the best treatment plan for you.

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