Disorders of the Lymphatic Vessels
Lymphatic dysfunction interferes with fluid homeostasis, tissue immunity and peripheral fat mobilization. Any chronic oedema represents lymphatic failure. If impaired lymph drainage is solely responsible, then lymphoedema results. This produces characteristic skin changes known as elephantiasis as well as increased fat deposition in the subcutaneous tissues. Impaired immune cell trafficking results in an increased risk of infection, particularly cellulitis/erysipelas, which often becomes recurrent. This chapter describes the clinical consequences of lymphatic dysfunction and in particular the impact on the skin and subcutaneous tissues. The sections are divided according to common clinical presentations.
Keywords lymphoedema, chronic oedema, elephantiasis, cellulitis (erysipelas), lymphatic malformation, lymphangiectasia