Obesity and lymphedema in geriatrics: combined therapeutical approaches
© Campisi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Published: 19 May 2010
Obesity combined with lymphedema, especially in geriatrics, is more than the sum of the two diseases  because it causes the diaphragm to be above its normal position, impairing its movement. As a consequence, a fundamental mechanism that supports lymph flow is significantly decreased. Obesity associated with lymphedema represents a cause of a highly invalidating condition. The purpose of this preliminary report is to propose a system of treatment, assessing the efficacy of a combined approach of lymphostatic disease in obese geriatric patients.
Materials and methods
A group of 6 geriatric patients affected by obesity (BMI>35) and lower limb lymphedema (II to III stage) had been enrolled in this preliminary study. Patients underwent a protocol of treatment of lymphedema by Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) according to Földi’s method. Patients had been under observation for six-twelve months. They were evaluated during this period of follow-up at 1-3-6 and 12 months. After 12 months those patients who were not significantly responsive to non-operative methods, without any important regression of previous lymphedema staging, had a lymphangioscintigraphy performed in order to evaluate a right indication to lymphatic-venous microsurgical anastomoses .
Considering the high incidence of obesity and the not-unfrequent association with lower limb lymphedema, the method proposed of a combined approach in geriatric patients can represent an effective and long-lasting therapeutic solution.
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