Lymphedema (or Lymphatic edema) is a chronic and progressive disease that not only affects the coetaneous tissues but also muscles, bones, nerves, joints and internal organs, leading to a more or less severe disability.
By an etiological point of view, there are primary and secondary lymphedema. The primary are also divided in familiar, sporadic and syndromic.
Concerning the treatment of lymphedema it’s necessary to underscore that, even if there are different therapeutic approaches to this pathology (physical/ rehabilitative, pharmacologic, and, in some cases, surgical), there is evidence that the physical/ rehabilitative treatment is the most appropriate approach to reach the best results in terms of clinical effectiveness and for the maintenance of such results over time; it also prevents the natural progression of the disease.
It is recommended that the primary and secondary lymphedema are identified according to clinical aspects associated to:
- the clinical criteria, determined during a lymphologic examination,
- -Lymphoscintigraphy, the international gold standard diagnostic exam, useful for the study of the lymphatics and to decide how to performe surgery.