Milroy's Disease

September 14, 2005
N.k. Akritidis, MD

,
G. Mantzios, MD

A 46-year-old woman was examined because of cellulitis of the right leg, which she said had been swollen for 30 years.

A 46-year-old woman was examined because of cellulitis of the right leg, which she said had been swollen for 30 years. This is lymphedema, a condition that results from obstruction or abnormalities in the lymphatic system (eg, hypoplasia or lymphangiectasia). It may also be caused by filariasis, which is common in the tropics. Lymphedema may be iatrogenic following irradiation or surgery for breast cancer, and it may be associated with yellow nail syndrome. Drs N.K. Akritidis, G. Mantzios, and T. Papaxanthis of Ioannina, Greece, write that this patient had Milroy's disease, a congenital hereditary condition marked by unilateral or bilateral lymphedema of the legs. The diagnosis is made by exclusion. Massage devices can be helpful, but management of Milroy's disease is generally unsuccessful.