The Woman with the huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

  • Vicki Borken is a 45-year old woman from Miami, U.S.A. who has rare type of the condition called “Lymphedema”, which has made her left leg grow to a massive size.
  • Vicki’s foot and leg started to grow abnormally when she was 2 years old, now it is 102 cm around and weighs 39 kg. Vicki’s case of Lymphedema is one of the largest in the U.S.
  • Lymphedema is swelling of the tissue. Lymphedema is caused by a faulty lymphatic system. The lymphatic system collects and filters the tissue fluid of the body, helping fight infections. Lymphedema causes the fluids to be kept localized at one area, causing it to swell.
  • Vicki’s swelling on her leg has an infection that risks spreading to her whole body, poisoning her blood.
  • Vicki fears her condition will be genetically inherited by her 8 year old daughter, something that’s possible.
  • Vicki things her swelling began after she had a dresser falling on her leg when she was young.
  • Each morning, Vicki has to wash and dress her leg – a task which takes 3 hours.
  • Vicki’s daughter helps Vicki with the protecting bandaging of her leg, a job she has been doing every morning since she was 3 years old.
  • There are different ways of treating lymphedema. One is a special type of massage to encourage the lymphatic system to work as it should. Another one is a method which is performed by the Swedish surgeon Dr. Håkan Brorson, where fat is drained from the bodypart by liposuction.

Sources and further reading:

The Vicki Borken Story
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
My Shocking Story: episode information

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