MRI of Lymphedema

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2023 Apr;57(4):977-991. doi: 10.1002/jmri.28496. Epub 2022 Oct 22.


Lymphedema is a devastating disease that has no cure. Management of lymphedema has evolved rapidly over the past two decades with the advent of surgeries that can ameliorate symptoms. MRI has played an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and evaluation of lymphedema, as it provides high spatial resolution of the distribution and severity of soft tissue edema, characterizes diseased lymphatic channels, and assesses secondary effects such as fat hypertrophy. Many different MR techniques have been developed for the evaluation of lymphedema, and the modality can be tailored to suit the needs of a lymphatic clinic. In this review article we provide an overview of lymphedema, current management options, and the current role of MRI in lymphedema diagnosis and management. EVIDENCE LEVEL: 5 TECHNICAL EFFICACY: Stage 5.

Keywords: MRI; lymphatic Imaging; lymphedema.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymphatic System
  • Lymphatic Vessels*
  • Lymphedema*
  • Lymphography / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods