Stages of Lymphoedema

Lymphodemea usually happens in stages, so it use useful to be ware of early symptoms before a more difficult problem develops.

Stage 1

  • Oedema subsides on elevation.
  • Pitting occurs.

stage one

Stage 2

  • Elevation not helpful.
  • Pitting not evident.
  • Fibrosis.

stage two

Stage 3

  • Warty overgrowths.
  • Elephantiasis.

stage 3


key point
Note that volume increase may be mild/ moderate/ severe.

When the lymphatic has been damaged by trauma, surgery or radiotherapy, a latent stage of lymphoedema may exist where the transport capacity of lymphatics is reduced, but the lymphatic load can still be handled.  Any increase in lymphatic caused by trauma or infection, may cause lymphoedema to become evident. It is generally thought that prevention of trauma, infection and maintenance of skin integrity can reduce the risk of lymphoedema developing. That is, DON’T take blood pressure or give injections in the affected arm.