Stage 3 Lymphedema
At this stage, the skin typically becomes very dry and scaly and the limb or other affected body region becomes very large. There may be fluid leaking from the limb and skin infections are common. The weight of the limb can be debilitating. Excess skin projections (including blisters) can form to attempt to contain the fluid, and these projections pose an even greater infection risk.
While these stages are all different, they are continuous. When lymphedema remains untreated, it will progress. Treatment of lymphedema focuses on halting this progression while also improving the symptoms. Specifically, treatment focuses on reduction of fluid volume but also on softening tissue fibrosis, reducing risk of infection, and maintaining or enhancing the function of the limb.