Explore this Condition

About Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a swelling that occurs when the flow of lymph in the body is blocked and then collects in the fatty tissues under the skin, usually in an arm or leg. The Massachusetts General Hospital Wound Center multidisciplinary team assists in the prevention and management of lymphedema for patients of any age. It can be cancerous and non-cancerous. Our team includes:

  • Medical specialists
  • Vascular surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Trauma surgeons
  • Specialized wound care nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Interventional radiologists
  • Advanced imaging specialists dedicated to treating lymphedema
  • Oncologists are available through the Mass General Cancer Center

Causes of Lymphedema

Most cases of lymphedema are caused by another disease or condition; however, there are instances when it can occur on its own. Some examples of how lymphedema can be caused include when the lymph nodes or vessels are removed or injured during surgery, they are blocked as a result of cancer cells or they become infected.

Learn about cancer-related lymphedema