Although elephantiasis has been described for centuries, the involvement of the lymphatics in this disease was not recognized until the extent of the lymph channels in the body had been revealed by the work of many anatomists, and until physicians in the tropics had found filarial organisms blocking the lymph vessels and lymph nodes.
THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
The universality of this system throughout the body was vaguely recognized in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Until recently, knowledge of the lymphatic system was limited to anatomic studies of these thin walled valvular vessels in various parts of the body as demonstrated by the injection method. It was known also that there were two sets of lymphatics in the extremities, a superficial and a deep group which eventually drained into deeply situated lymph nodes. This is well illustrated in an old chart (fig. 1).Of the many anatomists who have studied the
REICHERT FL. THE RECOGNITION OF ELEPHANTIASIS AND OF ELEPHANTOID CONDITIONS BY SOFT TISSUE ROENTGENOGRAMS: WITH A REPORT ON THE PROBLEM OF EXPERIMENTAL LYMPHEDEMA. Arch Surg. 1930;20(4):543–568. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1930.01150100003001
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