Photo of MLD technique for lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is a term used to describe swelling in the tissues arising from an impairment in the lymphatic system due to surgery, trauma or the system not developing normally.


In the cases where the swelling is as a result of trauma, surgery, venous insufficiency, reduced mobility or cancer itself it is termed secondary lymphoedema.


It can occur anywhere in the body but is commonly seem in legs, feet and arms and is often an outcome of treatment for cancer involving surgery and/or radiotherapy.


Lymphoedema can also be present at birth or may develop later in life, during puberty or mid-life and is due to abnormal functioning or underdevelopment of the lymphatics. This is known as primary lymphoedema. 


For further information about lymphoedema please refer to the Lymphoedema Support Network website. This website contains helpful guidance for healthcare professionals as well as patients.