What is the dermatologic pathology of lymphedema?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

The overlying skin becomes thickened and displays the typical peau d'orange (orange skin) appearance of congested dermal lymphatics.

Chronic lymphedema causes fissuring and impairment of the epidermis, allowing bacteria to enter and grow, and leading to lymphorrhea, the leakage of lymph onto the surface of the skin. With chronic lymphedema, the development of verrucous, cobblestone plaques, a condition known as elephantiasis nostra verrucosa (ENV), can occur.


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