ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Elephantiasis of the legs. Coloured bilateral coronal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan through the knees and 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 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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