Causes of Leg Lymphedema
Primary Leg Lymphedema:
Congenital (from birth) malformation of the lymph system or in the development of the lymph system; hereditary lymphedema in which lymph nodes may be missing
Secondary Leg Lymphedema:
Secondary leg lymphedema (also referred to as acquired lymphedema) is caused by or can develop as a results of:
1.) Surgeries involving the abdomen or legs where the lymph system has been damaged. This includes any intrusive surgery.
vein stripping surgery for peripheral vascular disease hip replacement knee replacement insertion of bolts, screws and other devices in orthopaedic repair lipectomy
2.) Removal of lymph nodes for cancer biopsy. These cancers include, but are not limited to prostate cancer testicular cancer ovarian cancer uteran cancer vulva cancer bladder lymphoma - both hodgkins and non hodgkins melanoma colon Kaposi Sarcoma
3.) Radiation treatment of these cancers that scars the lymph system and lymph nodes
4. Some types of chemo therapy. For example, tamoxifen has been linked to secondary lymphedema and blood clots.
5.) Severe infections/sepsis. Generally referred to as lymphangitis, this is a serious life-threatening infection of the lymph system/nodes.
6.) Trauma injuries such as those experienced in an automobile accident that severly injures the leg and the lymph system.
7.) Burns - this even includes severe sunburn. We have a member that acquired secondary leg lymphedema from this.
8.) Bone breaks and fractures.
9.) Morbid obesity - the lymphatics are eventually crushed by the excessive weight. When that occurs, the damage is permanent and chronic secondary leg lymphedema begins.