Tweets from ESL (2) - Now for the science bit!

Tweets from ESL (2) - Now for the science bit!

@Oxford OLP

Sep 25

How a lymphatic absorbs lymph fluid ‪#lymphoedema‬‬ ‪#ESL‬‬

This is a brilliant picture explaining how the microscopic lymphatics in the skin and just under the skin absorb fluid. When I talk to patients, I talk about “open ended tubes, sucking in the lymphatic fluid” – this is simple to understand, but not quite correct. If this were the case, then when the lymphatic contracts, it would simply push the fluid back out of the tube, and everyone would have lymphoedema. This picture shows an intricate valve system in the wall of the lymphatic – fluid goes in via the red arrow space, travels within the wall, and gets into the lumen (the hole in the centre of the tube) near the blue arrow. This means that when the lymphatic contracts, this space within the wall closes down, and fluid can’t leak back out.

In secondary lymphoedema, this one-way valve system goes wrong because of increased pressure inside the lymphatic. For me, the only logical way to correct this is to give the lymphatic a low-pressure outlet, which is what microsurgery for lymphoedema does. Look out for a future post on microsurgery.

If you would like to follow me on Twitter, please search for @OxfordOLP.

There is also a lot of information available on our website olp.surgery

6 Replies

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  • Thanks for giving a simple explanation of what is happening to all us Lympho sufferers. Hoping it will not be too long before a treatment as you suggest can be available to all who will benefit from it. If you need a volunteer please let me know!

    Kindest regards

    Christo

  • This is fascinating! And probably explains why you need such a gentle stroking movement over skin surface for subcutaneous lymphatics. But can you use this model to explain why exercise such as swimming, tai chi, yoga is so helpful?

  • Thanks for the comments!

    Swimming is generally good for lymphoedema as the water acts like a compression garment during the exercise. Not sure about Tai Chi and Yoga, but any exercise will help control weight, and we know that being overweight can make lymphoedema even worse.

    If you would like to follow me on Twitter, please search for @OxfordOLP.

    There is also a lot of information available on our website olp.surgery

  • Ah sounds like a plan!

  • thank you for p osting this post, as all the imformation about lymphoedema is most welcome thanks

    andrew

  • thanks for your support, very appreciated

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