[Infectious complications of lymphedema]

Rev Med Interne. 2002 Jun:23 Suppl 3:403s-407s. doi: 10.1016/s0248-8663(02)80383-6.
[Article in French]


Erysipelas and lymphangitis are frequent complications of lymphedemas (20 to 30%). The most important risk factor for erysipelas is lymphedema since this is a protein rich edema that contributes to the risk of infection. In case of lymphedema the treatment is the usual consensus treatment for erysipelas. A prophylactic treatment with penicillin is requested as soon as the first recurrence. This prophylactic treatment includes skin care, particularly treatment of injuries and intertrigos. Hyperplastic skin leads to maceration and then mycoses. Physiotherapy does not increase the risk for infection. Moreover an infection needs a complex decongestive physiotherapy which decreases risks of recurrence.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Erysipelas / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphangitis / etiology*
  • Lymphedema / complications*
  • Lymphedema / microbiology*
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Risk Factors


  • Penicillins