Lymphatic failure can be due to the following:-
- Primary Lymphoedema: due to underdeveloped, malformed or absent lymph vessels. This is can be due to Genetic disorders.
- Secondary Lymphoedema: can be secondary to a number of reasons; superficial and deep vein problems; immobility/paralysis; some rare congenital abnormalities; obesity; cancer; cancer treatments e.g. surgery, radiotherapy; infection; trauma or any surgical procedure which may result in the lymph system being disrupted.
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin commonly associated with Lymphoedema. Cellulitis can itself cause lymphoedema due to the damage of the superficial vessels following an acute attack.
Venous disease affects over 60% of the UK population over the age of 55. Venous disease is a well-known contributing factor to failure of the lymphatic system. The UK currently spends around 400 million pounds a year treating leg ulcers of which over 70% have associated oedema.
Once a swelling is present, the sooner it is managed the better the treatment outcome. In some instances after surgery, post-operative swelling can delay recovery. Access to early intervention can speed up this process and prevent long-term problems with mobility and movement.