Diseases of the lymphatic vessels

The lymphatic vessels are responsible for the reverse transport of fluid and metabolic cell products from the tissues to the bloodstream. Disorders of the lymphatic vessels can be hereditary or acquired during life.

In lymphatic disorders, accumulation of fluid and protein-rich cell products in the tissue leads to a progressive, painless swelling of the affected limb. This symptom is known as “lymphedema”. Lymphedema must be differentiated from other causes of limb-swelling such as lipedema, venous disease, heart failure or kidney disease. The evaluation of lymphatic diseases is based on a thorough clinical examination, soft tissue sonography and the careful exclusion of other causes of edema. Before the Diagnosis "primary lymphedema" is made possible causes of secondary lymphedema must be excluded.

Treatment of lymphedema usually consists of dedicated pressure garments, exercise and physical treatment by specialized manual massage and/or compression devices.