The Lymphatic System

Your lymphatic system plays a large role in immune function and circulation. It consists of lymph vessels located just under the skin, meeting up with lymph nodes located in your neck, armpits, and groin. As the lymph vessels move fluid out of the tissues, waste products, bacteria, dead cells, and large protein molecules are collected. The waste products are carried to the lymph nodes to be broken down and eliminated, while the protein rich fluid is transported back to the heart to rejoin circulation.

When the lymph vessels are unable to transport lymph fluid back into circulation it accumulates, resulting in swelling and thickening of the skin. This build-up of protein-rich lymph fluid is known as lymphedema. Once this condition occurs, the swelling may increase if an effective treatment program is not initiated.

How Does Lymphedema Develop?

Lymphedema most often develops in one arm or leg, but may be present in both arms and both legs. It may also occur in the hands or feet, and even in the chest, back, neck, face, abdomen and genitals.

Juzo, "What you should know about Lymphedema"