Background Cellulitis is a common cause for admission to hospital, and repeated episodes are thought to damage the lymphatic system. Lymphoedema is recognized as a condition predisposing to cellulitis but there are no data to suggest its prevalence among a population presenting to hospital with acute cellulitis.
Objectives To ascertain whether lymphatic abnormalities represent a common problem in patients with lower limb cellulitis.
Methods Patients admitted with cellulitis of the lower limb were invited to undergo clinical examination and lymphoscintigraphy.
Results Thirty patients agreed to participate in the study. Fifteen underwent lymphoscintigraphy. Thirteen had abnormal scans indicating impaired lymph drainage (seven patients had clinical lymphoedema).
Conclusions Lymphatic abnormalities represent an important but unrecognized problem in patients with leg cellulitis.