Which clinical history findings are characteristic of secondary lymphedema?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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In secondary lymphedema, the associated history should be more evident, based on the primary etiology. If due to filariasis, the history should include travel or habitation in an endemic area. Other patients should have a clear history of a neoplasm obstructing the lymphatic system, recurrent episodes of lymphangitis and/or cellulitis, obesity, trauma, or lymphedema resulting after surgery and/or radiation therapy. A recent history of varicose vein surgery also is reported.

In 2009, Lu et al noted 24 cases of localized lymphedema presenting as large, solitary polyps; solid or papillomatous plaques; pedunculated edematous lesions; or tumors that imitated sarcoma. Lesions most commonly occurred on the vulva. [53]

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