Lymphoedema Fibrosis

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Lymphoedema Fibrosis

Postby patoco » Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:51 pm

Lymphoedema and Fibrosis

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Lymphoedema and Fibrosis

Long standing lymphoedema causes a condition known as fibrosis. As the fluid continually collects in a limb, it becomes hard and dense. With each stage of lymphoedema there is also a change in the tissue texture of a limb.

With stage one the tissue is still much like normal tissue, its just satiated with fluid. As the swelling continues and as he fluid changes to that protein-rich fluid referred to a lymphorrea, you enter into stage two. In this stage, the tissue become very similar to a grape (best image I can think of). Already it is becoming much more difficult for antibiotics to reach bacteria and it becomes less response to the decongestive therapy.

At stage three, the tissue become similar to one of those old synthetic kitchen sponges, the ones that become rock hard when they are dry.

This is the very real serious side affect of stage three lymphoedema. This type of tissue increases potential of persistent and very hard to treat cellulitis or lymphangitis.

The denseness of the limb prohibits antibiotics from reaching the infecting bacterium and it is often able to survive in pockets of fibrotic tissue. These pockets act as a septic foci and after antibiotic treatment is completed, the infections will reappear.
Generally at this stage it is going to take IV antibiotics to deal with any infection because oral antibiotics just are not able to penetrate this mass of hard tissue.

Also, as the fibrosis intensifies you become more susceptible to deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and other circulatory problems. You may also start to experience neuropathy as the pressure of this tissue compresses nerves within the limb.


Lymphoedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling in the arms and legs. Edema occurs when venous and/or lymphatic vessels are impaired. When the impairment is so great that the lymph fluid exceeds the lymphatic transport capacity, an abnormal amount of protein fluid collects in the tissues of the extremity. Untreated, this stagnant, protein-rich fluid not only causes tissue channels to increase in size and number, but also reduces oxygen through the transport system, interferes with wound healing and provides a culture medium for bacteria that can result in various infections.

Extreme fibrosis can also lead to circulatory problems and can be responsible for blood clots in the affected limb.

The goal of decongestive therapy is preventing the lymphoedema from reaching this stage. It also can reverse fibrosis even in early stage 3 lymphoedema


Late Term Complications - Fibrosis

Why it is so important to prevent, treat and control fibrosis

1.) Fibrosis can eventually cause vascular problems. As the tissue in your LE limb continues to harden, it will effect blood flow and supply. This can lead to necrosis.

2.) With late term fibrosis, bacteria find many places to hide and be protected. The more extensive the fibrosis is, the harder it is for antibiotics to reach the bacteria. This leads to persistent cellulitus. Eventually this can cause gangrene and/or necrosis.

3.) Fibrosis will affect nerves. The result will be a substantial increase in pain and discomfort.

4.) Fibrosis along with continuous cellulitis and radiation has been implicated in lymphangiosarcoma.

If you have lymphoedema, it must be your priority to seek treatment and control to prevent fibrosis.


Fibrosis - Definition with Related Words


Fibrosis - Definition


Title: Tissue Fibrosis as a Factor Influencing Blood Flow and Oxygenation in Woman with Postmastectomy Lymphoedema

Abstract ... rosis.html



The formation of fibrous tissue, which may be either normal or pathologic. Fibrosis occurs normally as part of the repair of damaged parenchymatous elements, or fibrous tissue may replace normal tissue in various disease states, such as cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and endomyocardial fibrosis.

Fibrosis follows either acute or chronic inflammatory states. Chronic inflammation is characterized by persistent tissue destruction involving both parenchyma and stroma. The damage is so extensive that it cannot be repaired by parenchymal cells alone; as a consequence, fibrous connective tissue replaces some of the tissue lost. This fibrosis leads to formation of scar tissue. ... BROSIS.asp


Hey Pat and Silk, please reply to my e-mail address also. I read an article by you Pat on anothe cite concerning Fibrosis and dieuretics (lasix). i have had Congestive Heart Failure and also suffer from edema and a water retention problem. So I must take the dieuretic but
what will be the long term result from me. I have been receiving message theapy and my legs have reduced in size. Also on my left leg my therapist noted the skin was geting softer and there was some hair growth. She applies Eucerin to my legs at least three times a week and my eife appies it once a week. My legs are wrapped daily 24/7 at the present time. Can the skin become softer and is the hair growth posssible,


Hey Charles

I can understand your concern. The questions to consider is with congestive heart failure, what would be the ramifications of you not being on diuretics.

The rule of thumb has always been underling medical condtions, so it is imperative that you continue the diuretics.

From what you have said on your other posts, you are receiving massage therapy, good skin care and keeping on top of the lymphedema. These things will go along way in helping with any fibrosis - and actually from what you said, it sounds as if you are beginning to reverse that.

If the skin is turning softer and there is hair growth again - that's very good news. Keep doing what you are doing and you should be fine.

Hope this helps!


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