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Lymphodema Scotland. Management of chronic oedema and lymphoedema. 2020. (accessed 9 February 2022)

Fluid build-up: oedema, lymphoedema and ascites. 2021. (accessed 9 February 2022)

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Skincare for chronic oedema and lymphoedema patients

02 February 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 2

The British Medical Journal (The BMJ) (2022) describe lymphoedema as:

‘a chronic, progressive swelling of tissue with protein-rich fluid, which is consequential to the developmental (primary lymphoedema) or acquired (secondary lymphoedema) disruption of the lymphatic system.’

Usually, the peripheral areas are affected first, such as the hands, ankles and feet, followed by regions such as the genitalia. Usually, these cases are a result of nematode infection known as filariasis, malignancy, or caused by cancer-related treatments. Ususally, such a presentation involves a painless unilateral limb swelling with pitting oedema present in early disease (The BMJ, 2022). Lymphoedema is usually diagnosed via a clinical assessment involving the confirmation of disease by lymphoscintigraphy (The BMJ, 2022). The initial treatment will involve compression, using certain types of static garment such as compression hosiery, and sometimes involves complex massage and pneumatic compression devices, with surgical options reserved for those patients with significant morbidity who did not respond well to conservative measures (The BMJ, 2022). A permanent cure is not available and long-term care will be required, with collaboration between the patient and their care providers.

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