Lymphoedema Service

The role of the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is a one-way drainage system of vessels and lymph nodes that help drain fluid it also has an important role in supporting your body’s immune system.

How does lymphoedema occur?

Lymphoedema can occur following damage to the lymphatic system for example cancer treatment (lymph node removal/ radiotherapy), injury, infection, obesity or lack of limb movement, this is called secondary lymphoedema. Primary lymphoedema is a rare condition caused by faulty genes that affect the development of the lymphatic system, often present from early life.

Lymphoedema cannot be cured but can be successfully managed with a combination of self-care and support. At your assessment we will advise you on how to manage your condition, the focus of treatment is to:

  • Reduce and control the swelling which may include compression garments, compression bandaging or lymphatic drainage massage.
  • Reduce the risk of infection and improve the skin and tissue condition.
  • Increase movement and exercise to help drainage of lymph fluid and help you use the limb normally.

We will aim to discharge you back to the care of you GP for on-going lifelong management.

The lymphoedema service is based at Leatherhead Hospital, home visits available to housebound patients only.