Resolution of edema remains a significant clinical challenge. Conditions such as traumatic shock, sepsis, or diabetes often involve microvascular hyperpermeability, which leads to tissue and organ dysfunction. Lymphatic insufficiency due to genetic causes, surgical removal of lymph nodes, or infections, leads to varying degrees of tissue swelling that impair mobility and immune defenses. Treatment options are limited to management of edema as there are no specific therapeutics that have demonstrated significant success for ameliorating microvascular leakage or impaired lymphatic function. This review examines current knowledge about the physiological, cellular, and molecular mechanisms that control microvascular permeability and lymphatic clearance, the respective processes for interstitial fluid formation and removal. Clinical conditions featuring edema, along with potential future directions are discussed.

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