Lymphedema pp 319-326 | Cite as

General Overview – Historical Background

  • Waldemar L. Olszewski


Historically, limb lymphedema has been treated conservatively as far back as it has been found documented on ancient sculptures and scripts. Development of surgery in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought with it surgical methods for controlling lymphedema by improving tissue fluid and lymph drainage (e.g., through tissue bridging flaps, implantation of drains, etc.) and removal of excess of tissues in the advanced stages, such as elephantiasis. The results of lymph drainage by surgically created flow pathways turned out to be unsatisfactory and this is no longer practiced. In the 1960s modern microsurgery took its first steps based on the development of operating microscopes, microsurgical instruments, and refined sutures.


Lymph Drainage Limb Volume Afferent Lymphatic Lower Limb Lymphedema Microsurgical Instrument 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Waldemar L. Olszewski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgical Research and TransplantologyMedical Research CentreWarsawPoland

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