What causes lymphedema tarda?

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

Lymphedema tarda manifests later in life, usually in persons older than 35 years. It is thought to be caused by a defect in the lymphatic valves, resulting in incompetent valve function. Whether this defect is congenital or acquired is difficult to determine.

As the rarest form of primary lymphedema, this disease accounts for only 10% of cases. Histologically, patients are likely to demonstrate a hyperplastic pattern, with tortuous lymphatics increased in caliber and number.


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