Lymphatic abnormalities demonstrated by lymphoscintigraphy after lower limb cellulitis

Br J Dermatol. 2008 Jun;158(6):1350-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2007.08423.x. Epub 2008 Jan 30.


Background: Cellulitis is a common cause for admission to hospital, and repeated episodes are thought to damage the lymphatic system. Lymphoedema is recognized as a condition predisposing to cellulitis but there are no data to suggest its prevalence among a population presenting to hospital with acute cellulitis.

Objectives: To ascertain whether lymphatic abnormalities represent a common problem in patients with lower limb cellulitis.

Methods: Patients admitted with cellulitis of the lower limb were invited to undergo clinical examination and lymphoscintigraphy.

Results: Thirty patients agreed to participate in the study. Fifteen underwent lymphoscintigraphy. Thirteen had abnormal scans indicating impaired lymph drainage (seven patients had clinical lymphoedema).

Conclusions: Lymphatic abnormalities represent an important but unrecognized problem in patients with leg cellulitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cellulitis / complications
  • Cellulitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / complications
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods
  • Treatment Outcome