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Lymphoedema is a condition that affects at least a quarter of a million people in the UK alone. It is a chronic condition in which the lymphatic system doesn’t work effectively. Lymphatic fluid builds up in the tissues causing swelling that can be distressing and disfiguring.

The London Clinic offers bespoke treatment plans for the effective management of lymphoedema. Expert lymphoedema practitioners provide specialist support and the very latest treatments to reduce swelling, ease discomfort, and help you live life to the full.

Patient with swollen lower legs being treated

What is lymphoedema?

Lymph is the watery fluid that carries white blood cells around the body to fight infection. It is also responsible for clearing away dead or abnormal cells, excess protein, and bacteria.

When the lymphatic system is faulty, the lymph can’t drain away. The lymph fluid builds up, causing swelling, which is called lymphoedema. Lymphoedema most commonly affects the limbs, making them swollen, heavy, and uncomfortable. However, it can affect any part of the body from the head to the toes. 

What causes lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is caused by problems with the lymphatic system, meaning that the lymph fluid doesn’t flow and drain effectively.

Primary lymphoedema

Primary lymphoedema occurs when a person's lymphatic system is not fully developed. This leads to their lymph systems not working correctly.

Secondary lymphoedema

Lymphoedema commonly develops due to damage to the lymphatic system from injuries, infections, or cancer treatment.

Being overweight or inactive can increase the risk of developing lymphoedema in vulnerable people. This is because the lymphatic fluid relies on the body's motion to circulate - exercise, activity, and breathing all help to keep it moving.

Many people develop lymphoedema after cancer treatment, where the lymph nodes are removed or damaged by radiotherapy. The arms may develop lymphoedema following breast cancer.

The London Clinic provides specialist cancer care, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Lymphoedema treatment is an integral part of the Clinic's cancer aftercare service.

However, The London Clinic can provide specialist support, care, and treatment for lymphoedema of any cause.

Treatment for Lymphoedema at The London Clinic

The London Clinic offers expert therapy for the management of lymphoedema. A specialist practitioner provides customised treatment tailored to each individual's needs in a comfortable, supportive, and stress-free environment. 

Patients can book treatment through the Physiotherapy service. A bespoke programme combining regular massage, compression treatment, and exercise can reduce swelling, protect the skin, and maintain comfort for people living with lymphoedema. 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a specialist type of skin massage. The practitioners at The London Clinic use techniques to encourage lymphatic flow and prevent oedema. MLD plays a vital role in the management of lymphoedema.

Multi-layer Lymphoedema Bandaging

The London Clinic provides specialist multi-layered lymphoedema bandaging (MLLB). An intensive programme of daily bandaging can help lymph drainage and prevent fluid accumulation.

MLLB can reduce lymphoedema so that your limb looks and feels better. For some patients, the bandaging may be combined with Manual Lymphatic Drainage to get the very best results.

The bandaging technique requires highly specialist skills and experience. The London Clinic also offers types of bandaging comprising foam and compression layers, making the process less time-consuming for our patients.

Compression Garments 

Compression garments are pivotal in the management of lymphoedema. They put pressure on the tissues, preventing fluid build-up and encouraging lymph drainage. 

The specialists at The London Clinic will prescribe garments designed to treat your lymphoedema. They will ensure they are correctly fitted, comfortable, and effective. They will show you the best ways of getting the garment on and off.  When worn regularly, garments can make a real difference to swelling, symptoms and skin health.

Kinesio Taping

Kinesio Taping can open up the lymphatic pathways and reduce lymphoedema. The London Clinic's specialist physiotherapists use innovative application techniques to lift the skin, provide more space for lymphatic flow, decrease swelling, and ease pain and discomfort. 

Skin Care

Maintaining skin health is a vital part of lymphoedema therapy. Infections, irritation, and inflammation can make the skin thicken and make lymphoedema worse.

The specialists at The London Clinic provide bespoke skincare advice, including advising on the importance of moisturising regularly, keeping the skin clean, and protecting from bites and scratches, which can let infections in.  

Exercise Therapy

Exercise encourages lymph movement and reduces swelling. However, when you're in discomfort or recovering from cancer, it can be difficult and frightening to reintroduce activity.  

The London Clinic offers therapeutic exercise programmes under the supervision of experienced physiotherapists so that you can safely build strength and fitness.

Sessions may include resistance activity and supported mobilisation on a treadmill, cross-trainer, or specialised static bicycle. 

Aquatic therapy

Aquatic therapy is an evidence-based treatment for lymphoedema. It involves the use of water to improve circulation, reduce weight-bearing stresses, and reduce pain.

The expert physiotherapists will formulate an individualised exercise programme specific to your needs. The sessions take place in the comfortable light and airy environment of The London Clinic’s state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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