Lymphedema: Diagnostic workup and management

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Abstract

Lymphedema is a localized form of tissue swelling resulting from excessive retention of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial compartment. It is caused by impaired lymphatic drainage. Lymphedema is a chronic progressive disease with serious physical and psychosocial implications. It can be challenging to diagnose, especially in obese patients and in those with coexisting venous disease. We performed PubMed and Google Scholar searches of the English-language literature (1966-2017) using the terms lymphedema, lymphedema management, and lymphatic complications. Relevant publications were manually reviewed for additional resources. There are currently no standard guidelines for the diagnosis of lymphedema. There is no cure yet for lymphedema, and the objective for management is to limit disease progression and prevent complications.

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