Elephantiasis of the legs, axial MRI scan

Elephantiasis of the legs, axial MRI scan

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Credit: ZEPHYR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Elephantiasis of the legs. Coloured bilateral axial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan through the lower legs of a 39-year-old woman with elephantiasis, a condition where the lymph vessels become blocked. Fluid consequently accumulates in the tissue (oedema), leading to swelling. The condition has here affected the right leg (at left). The most common cause of elephantiasis is infection with parasitic worms (filariasis). Lymph vessels carry fluid to allow the exchange of water, salts, proteins and other substances between the blood and tissues. This patient contracted the condition in the tropics, in Sri Lanka.

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