Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Edema (Swelling)

Edema is common in the trauma patient and is defined as an excessive accumulation of fluid in the spaces between the body’s cells. Edema can result in the enlargement of organs, skin, and other body structures.

Edema can be divided into several types:

1) Peripheral or pitting edema - where the edema is found in parts of the body most affected by gravity like the legs (if you are standing) and sacrum (if you are lying);
2) Generalized edema - a swelling that progresses from the peripheral regions to involve the abdomen and thorax; and
3) Lymphedema - non-pitting edema caused by an obstruction of the lymphatic vessels.