Lymphoedema Service

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is a swelling of the tissues which occurs when fluid builds up due to poor lymphatic drainage. It can involve any part of the body, but is most common in the arms or legs.

Lymphoedema differs from other forms of swelling (oedema) in that it can lead to changes in the skin and underlying tissues such as hardening called fibrosis or thickening.

There is also a greater risk of developing an infection in the affected limb or area.

What is Oedema?

Oedema occurs when fluid builds up in the tissues and causes swelling.  There are many different causes including;

  • Poor drainage of the lymphatic system
  • Poor function of the veins
  • Heart or kidney problems
  • Obesity: prevents lymph drainage
  • Lifestyle: legs being kept down with limited movement - eg. Wheel chair use or sleeping in a chair at night.

The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is a one-way drainage system which continually transports fluid from the body's tissues back into the blood circulation.

The fluid (lymph) is carried along a network of lymphatic vessels to be filtered in the lymph nodes before entering the blood.

Primary Lymphoedema is the result of an abnormal or underdeveloped lymphatic system. You are born with this swelling.

Secondary Lymphoedema is due to damage or blockage of the lymphatics caused by a secondary source such as cancer treatment, surgery, infection obesity or poor vein function.

Note: Not all Oedema or Lymphoedema is Cancer related.

Treatment Options

If left untreated, swelling becomes more persistent over time, along with skin changes and decreased mobility. The risk of skin infections (cellulitis) is also increased and can cause further damage.

Increase in pain and discomfort may also impact on mobility and general quality of life.

Management is linked to the underlying cause of the swelling and the various options include:

  • Medication review
  • Skin care to maintain good skin condition and prevent infection
  • Exercise to promote lymph drainage
  • Limb elevation where indicated
  • Compression hosiery or bandaging to reduce and control swelling
  • Lymphatic massage when appropriate
  • Lifestyle changes: weight reduction where indicated, or going to bed at night if this is not your usual pattern

Our Partnership Approach

Ultimately treatment is aiming for patients and carers to be self-managing their condition in partnership with the service.

Achievement of treatment goals can only happen on a long term basis as you commit to carrying out the jointly set-up plan that has been tailored for you.

Treatment Aims for Lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is a lifelong condition, the treatment is aimed at reducing the swelling and managing the condition on a long term basis.

Lincolnshire Lymphoedema Service

Will see people who have both chronic (long-term) oedema and lymphoedema.

You can be referred to this service by any of the health professionals looking after you eg: GP, Consultant, District Nurse, Practice Nurse, Physiotherapist or Podiatrist.

The service offers advice, support, assessment and treatment for chronic oedema and lymphoedema.



Tennyson Suite
Skegness & District Hospital
Dorothy Avenue
PE25 2BS

01754 613515
01754 760132

Calls are welcome via Text Relay.

Daily Clinics

Other useful contacts:


BLS - British Lymphology Society

1 Webb’s Court
Buckhurst Avenue
TN13 1LZ
01732 740850

LSN - Lymphoedema Support Network

St Luke’s Crypt
Sydney Street
0207 351 4480


Macmillan Cancer Support Helpline

0808 808 00 00 Monday – Friday 9am -8pm


Lymphoedema Patient Information Leaflets


  The Lymphatic system

  Arm and Hand information


  Coban 2 Layer Compression system

  Compression Bandaging - Arms

  Compression Bandaging

  Compression Garments

  Deep breathing exercises

  Holiday and Travel Info

  Intensive Treatment Information

  Legs and Feet Information

  Lymphoedema Arm Exercises

  Lymphoedema Leg Exercises

  Post Surgical Breast

  Simple Lymphatic Drainage - Abdomen

  Simple Lymphatic Drainage Left Leg

  Simple Lymphatic Drainage Right Leg

  Skin Care

  Simple Lymphatic Drainage – Left Arm

  Simple Lymphatic Drainage – Right Arm