Lymphedema is a chronic edema caused by impaired drainage of interstitial fluid by the lymphatic system. Typical is a local swelling preferably lower limbs that shows no pitting.
Four stages of lymphedema can be distinguished:
0. No swelling but impaired lymphatic drainage is known.
1. Soft swelling with pitting that decreases with elevation.
2. Firm swelling that hardly shows pitting and relief with elevation.
3. Massive swelling with skin alterations and local infections
Lymphedema is the most prominent and sometimes sole symptom of hereditary lymphedema.