Stages of Lymphedema
What are the stages of lymphedema?
Interval / Latent stage
There is some damage to the lymph vessels, but lymph drainage is normal. There is no visible or palpable (edema) yet.
Swelling develops over the course of the day, but it disappears partially or completely when you elevate the limb. If you push down on the tissues with your finger, a pit forms that persists for some time.
- impaired lymph drainage
- edema occurs during the course of the day
- reduction of the edema after reclining with the legs elevated
- visible dent after strongly pressing with the finge
Spontaneously irreversible stage
The swelling persists, even if you take longer rests. The skin is hard and elevating the limb no longer helps. It is difficult or even impossible to make pits in the skin.
- hardened edema
- no reduction of the edema after lying with the legs elevated
- difficult or impossible to press the skin
- indentation inwards
This is marked by swelling and skin changes (for example, in the form of small blisters that leak lymph fluid). Another form of this swelling is called elephantiasis.
- bulky swelling with extreme proportions (formation of beads)
- hardened skin
- creation of bubbles and fistulas from which lymph can trickle
- complications and deep wounds which do not easily heal
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