14 doctors weighed in:
Who is at risk for lymphedema?
14 doctors weighed in

Dr. Barry Rosen
Surgery
8 doctors agree
In brief: Surgery+/-Radiation
Anything that disrupts the lymphatic microcirculation of an extremity can cause lymphedema.
The most common cause is the surgical removal of lymph nodes (ln) to stage certain cancers (breast and melanoma, most commonly). Breast cancer treatment often includes radiation therapy; if the lns are included in the radiation field, the risks increase. Thankfully, rates are down due to new techniques.

In brief: Surgery+/-Radiation
Anything that disrupts the lymphatic microcirculation of an extremity can cause lymphedema.
The most common cause is the surgical removal of lymph nodes (ln) to stage certain cancers (breast and melanoma, most commonly). Breast cancer treatment often includes radiation therapy; if the lns are included in the radiation field, the risks increase. Thankfully, rates are down due to new techniques.
Dr. Barry Rosen
Dr. Barry Rosen
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2 comments
Dr. Crystal Twynham
Certain infections can also damage the lymphatic system and cause lymphedema.
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
This is the top complaint of patients; less nodal dissection; judicious radiotherapy target help, some occurs despite best efforts
Dr. Vasu Brown
Wound care
3 doctors agree
In brief: Surgical procedures
Any interruption to organs via surgical procedures, heart surgery where they harvest veins from legs, lymph node excision esp in cancer surgeries, injuries to organs, chronic infections can cause lymphedema.
It could be congenital - in that case it would start early in life - prevalent in females in their teens.

In brief: Surgical procedures
Any interruption to organs via surgical procedures, heart surgery where they harvest veins from legs, lymph node excision esp in cancer surgeries, injuries to organs, chronic infections can cause lymphedema.
It could be congenital - in that case it would start early in life - prevalent in females in their teens.
Dr. Vasu Brown
Dr. Vasu Brown
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Dr. Ted King
Phlebology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Many causes
As dr. Wright said, there are many risk factors for lymphedema.
Surgery and radiation are probably the two most likely identifiable causes for lymphedema. It can be congenital and a child is born with it. Much more commonly, it will develop during puberty, or else after age 35. Women get lymphedema more commonly than men. Worldwide, the most common cause is a parasitic infection.

In brief: Many causes
As dr. Wright said, there are many risk factors for lymphedema.
Surgery and radiation are probably the two most likely identifiable causes for lymphedema. It can be congenital and a child is born with it. Much more commonly, it will develop during puberty, or else after age 35. Women get lymphedema more commonly than men. Worldwide, the most common cause is a parasitic infection.
Dr. Ted King
Dr. Ted King
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Dr. Thomas Wright
Phlebology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Many risks
Lymphedema is caused by poor lymphatic circulation .
The most common cause is the removal of lymph nodes with breast cancer surgery. Obesity is a common cause of lymphedema. Anybody who has an infection surgery or trauma to a limb is at risk for lymphedema.

In brief: Many risks
Lymphedema is caused by poor lymphatic circulation .
The most common cause is the removal of lymph nodes with breast cancer surgery. Obesity is a common cause of lymphedema. Anybody who has an infection surgery or trauma to a limb is at risk for lymphedema.
Dr. Thomas Wright
Dr. Thomas Wright
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Dr. Crystal Twynham
Board Certified, Surgery
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