We have had several questions concerning the cause, prevention and treatment of cellulitis. For example, a32 year old womanwas diagnosed with lymphedema in 1998. Since developing lymphedema, she has been hospitalized 5 times for cellulitis in the leg with lymphedema. She has been hospitalized for 1 to 3 weeks with each infection and has become allergic to penicillin. These recurrent infections are very disruptive to her life and she has become understandably frustrated and is searching for a permanent treatment. Unfortunately, the swelling stretches the tissue making the skin more susceptible to infection. In addition, the edematous tissue and lymphatic obstruction prevents adequate tissue drainage and compromises the immune system. As a result, people with lymphedema are at high risk of infection.
Unfortunately, for now, we cannot correct lymphedema surgically. Surgical bypass of the lymphatic obstruction has not been effective because the lymphatic channels are very delicate. In fact, surgical intervention can sometimes worsen the condition. We conducted a study in 100 patients with lymphedema and demonstrated a significant reduction in the infection rate in patients treated with the ReidSleeve. Effective control of the lymphedema improves the skin turgor and enhances immune clearing of bacteria. We have documented cases of patients with multiply recurrent infections that have had dramatic reductions in the lymphedema and infection rates due to treatment with the ReidSleeve. Ultimately, we may be able to enhance the ability of the body to makenew lymphatic channelsand permanently cure lymphedema; however, until then, effective control of lymphedema and prevention is the best way to avoid cellulitis.