About Lymphoedema

What is lymphoedema?

It is excess extracellular fluid that causes swelling mostly often in the arms or legs, but it can occur also in the abdomen/genitals/head and neck. This condition can be present at birth (primary lymphoedema) or can develop (secondary lymphoedema) when the lymphatic system is damaged, if lymph nodes are removed through surgery or lymphatic channels are broken when skin is damaged. This could occur after surgery, for example; breast cancer surgery/skin cancer removal/vascular surgery/orthopaedic surgery/head and neck or major abdominal surgery.

What is Lipo-Lymphoedema

Lipoedema can be underdiagnosed due the difficulty in differentiating it from other oedemas and obesity. However, symmetrical (both limbs) fatty enlargement of both lower limbs, including waist to ankles, not including the feet and including both upper arms (but not lower arms or hands) are signs of lipoedema. As the fatty enlargement continues in these particular areas, swelling can also result. It is caused by slower lymphatic flow and changes in the lymphatic vessel structure caused by pressure in the lipoedematous limbs. Sometimes this swelling is significant and this is known as secondary Lymphoedema and this is then called lipo-lymphedema. Lipo-lymphedema may also develop in combination with chronic venous insufficiency and other vascular disorders. For some patients there can also be painful lipomas around the body and this condition is called Dercum’s Disease.

Further Information

For further information about services provided & lymphoedema treatment please view our treatment brochure here.