Assessment of Skin Properties in Chronic Lymphedema: Measurement of Skin Stiffness, Percentage Water Content, and Transepidermal Water Loss.

Lymphedema (LE) is a chronic progressive protein-rich edema of the soft tissues. Measurement of extracellular fluid of the affected limbs is widely used in detecting LE; however, quantification of the skin alterations and early tissue changes in LE lacks approaches. Ninety-one patients with LE were assessed. Measurement of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin stiffness (SF), and percentage water content (PWC) was assessed on five predetermined skin sites. The value of TEWL, SF, and PWC increased significantly in lymphedematous skin compare with controls, indicating damaged function and texture of the affected skin. Both PWC ratio and SF ratio strongly correlated with LE stage. High correlations were found among instruments assessing tissue fluid. Assessment of the skin parameters has contributed new information about the functional and structural alterations in chronic lymphedematous skin. Quantification of skin properties changes could be a valuable supplement to diagnosis and evaluation of chronic LE.

 

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