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What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema, chronic oedema or elephantiasis occurs when the lymphatics do not remove adequate amounts of fluid from the tissues. This creates an oedema swelling in any affected part of the body.

Lymphoedema can be either:

  • primary, where it occurs because the lymphatic system has not formed properly in the womb, or
  • secondary, which is as a result of damage to the lymphatics. The damage could be after cancer related lymph node removal, damage through accident, other surgery techniques following infections such as lymphangitis.