The main symptom of lymphedema is persistent swelling, usually of the arm or leg.


  • Causes of lymphatic obstruction include:
  • Infections with parasites such as filariasis
  • Injury
  • Radiation therapy
  • Skin infections such as cellulitis
  • Surgery
  • Tumors
  • Treatment for lymphedema includes:
  • Compression (usually with multilayered bandages)
  • Manual lymph drainage (MLD)
  • Range of motion exercises
  • It is also known as lymphoedema and lymphatic edema, is a condition of localized swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system. The lymphatic system functions as a critical portion of the body's immune system and returns interstitial fluid to the bloodstream.
  • Begin by lying on a comfortable, flat surface. Cross your arms on your chest, with your hands resting just below the collarbones. Then lift your elbows slowly. The muscle action is as much pressure required to prepare the area to flush lymphatic fluid.
  • Lymphedema is commonly classified into stages based on its severity:
  • Stage 0 (latent). No visible changes are seen, but you may notice changes in sensation, often with achiness or tightness.
  • Stage 1 (mild). Swelling in the affected area can change throughout the day. Tissue will hold an indentation when you press on it (pitting edema). There are no permanent changes in the skin.
  • Stage 2 (moderate). There’s an irreversible swelling where your tissue feels spongy to the touch. Inflammation and thickening of the skin occurs.
  • Stage 3 (severe). There’s ongoing fluid retention. The affected area hardens and becomes very large. Skin changes are permanent, and there’s often loss of function.


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    Lisa M
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    Journal of Phonetics and  Audiology
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