Lymphedema begins when the lymphatic vessels do not drain their insides rich in plasmatic proteins emanating from the interstitial space to which they arrive by means of the blood capillaries. The following act produces an edema that favors fibroblastic proliferation, which, interferes with the lymphatic circulation, closing a vicious cycle that can lead to the most horrible elephantiasis.

Lymphatic edemas are white, hard and elastic, in such a manner that the digital stamp does not remain. The skin appears distended and with hairy implantations forming greater relief.

There are two main principal groups: congenital lymphedema and secondary types

Some of the different types included in the first group. affect primarily young women, without any history nor causes to explain them. The first symptoms are swelling of the foot or ankle of an extremity that increases with tiredness, heat, pre-menstrual days; rest decreases it. With age, it stops progressing, but for then, it has caused cutaneous harshness, yellow nails, heaviness of the extremity and sometimes elephantiasis.

More than 50% of the cases belong to the second above-mentioned group.

Elephantiasis, comprised in this group, is the consequence of a chronic and progressive or inflammatory intense lymphedema. The other condition that affects women, though much more rarely, is lipedema, an accumulation of symmetric fat in the two legs. It seems to be of familiar character and should be considered as an aesthetic defect, not as a true medical condition.