What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is a swelling which can affect any part of the body, categorised as either primary or secondary.

A Primary lymphoedema is one where the person affected is born with an inefficient lymphatic system. Symptoms of swelling can appear at birth or at any time in a persons life.

A Secondary lymphoedema is a swelling which occurs as a result of some cause – most commonly after lymph nodes are removed surgically and/or radiated as a part of their treatment for cancer.

Can it be treated?

Yes. The treatment of lymphoedema falls roughly into two categories:- Phase One which is an intensive treatment period for reduction of the swollen area and Phase Two which is a maintenance phase intended to keep the area as reduced as possible after the intensive Phase One.

Both phases follow the four cornerstones of Lymphoedema treatment as described in the Macmillan Report on lymphoedema Treatment in 1984. Skincare; Exercises; bandaging (or compression) and Manual Lymph drainage. (MLD)

For more information: Assessment and Treatment.