SECONDARY LYMPHEDEMA - The causes of secondary lymphedema are multiple. Infections from insect bites, serious wounds, or burns can cause lymphedema when they damage or destroy lymphatics as kind any type of serious injury, radiation for cancer treatments is also a cause. Outside the tropics the number one cause of secondary lymphedema is the removal of lymph nodes for cancer biopsies. Hopefully, with the improved techniques of small needle biopsies, radiological diagnostic improvements and site specific node biopsies we will sees a marked decrease in this type of lymphedema.
In the tropical climates the most common cause of lymphedma is infection from filarial worms. Generally, resulting from mosquito bites. This parasite then grows eventually blocking and destroying the lymphatic system.