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Lymphangiectasia Treatment & Management

  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Jun 22, 2016

Medical Care

No medical care has been proven to be effective for acquired lymphangiomas because the responsible lymphatic vessels must be either excised or sealed to prevent recurrence.

Treatment for lymphangiectases can be difficult, but it is important because of the risk that ruptured vesicles may provide a portal of entry for infection and subsequent cellulitis. To prevent superinfection of ruptured vesicles, cleansing the affected area daily with topical antibacterial agents and applying mupirocin ointment or silver sulfadiazine cream are advisable.

Follow-up care is essential for early treatment of lymphangiectasia recurrences. Lymphangiosarcoma (Stewart-Treves syndrome) may occur in chronic edematous limbs, and early detection is critical. At times, severe recurrent cellulitis may warrant hospitalization in patients with lymphangiectasia, especially in patients who are immunocompromised. Intravenous antibiotic is required in patients with severe cellulitis.


Surgical Care

Many surgical treatment modalities have been advocated in the care of lymphangiectases; these modalities include electrodesiccation, laser therapy,[19] sclerotherapy,[28] cryotherapy, and surgical excision.[10, 29] In a small case series, liquid nitrogen cryotherapy was an effective treatment for localized conjunctival lymphangiectasia.[30] Daily compression through bandaging or hosiery, in accessible areas, has yielded acceptable results. Although no consensus exists concerning therapy for lymphangiectasia, vulvar lymphangiectasia may be effectively handled with carbon dioxide laser therapy.[31] Acquired balanic lymphangiectasia after circumcision was successfully treated with a 2940-nm erbium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet laser.[32]



Lymphangiectases are often complicated by pain, copious fluid drainage, and recurrent attacks of cellulitis.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Geover Fernandez, MD, FAAD Staff Physician, Department of Dermatology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Geover Fernandez, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for MOHS Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD Herman Beerman Professor of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Director, Penn Cutaneous Pathology Services, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society of Dermatopathology, Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Received royalty from Lippincott Williams Wilkins for textbook editor.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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