For patients and families
Lymphedema is a chronic, progressive disease which causes swelling, usually of the arms or legs, because of non-functioning lymphatic vessels. Over time, fat and scar tissue develop and further increase the size of the affected extremity. Currently, there is no cure for lymphedema. There are two types of lymphedema:
- Primary lymphedema has no known cause and can appear at any age.
- Secondary lymphedema results from injury to lymphatic vessels (usually following an operation, radiation, infection, trauma, or disease).