Lymphoedema is a collection of lymph fluid which cannot drain away.  It can be caused by a variety of factors including cancer, cancer treatments, trauma, injury or genetic causes. The result is swelling – often of the limbs but other parts of the body such as the head and neck or the trunk can be affected too.

Initially when people are referred to the Forth Valley Lymphoedema Service, they are assessed by a Lymphoedema Practitioner who will provide the appropriate care and advice. For some people referral to the specialist lymphoedema clinic may be required.

As  lymphoedema is a chronic condition, the aims of treatment are individualised to help people manage this as independently as possible. Skin care, gentle exercise and sometimes compression garments and self massage are all part of the long term management of lymphoedema. 

Treatment at the specialist clinic may additionally involve a short course of specialist bandaging, sometimes in combination with gentle skin massage (manual lymphatic drainage). Following this compression garments are fitted to be worn daily.

 Once the swelling has stabilised and people are confident in their self management regime, then they can be discharged from the Specialist Clinic either for continued monitoring by their Lymphoedema Practitioner or by their GP with the understanding that they can be referred back to the Specialist Clinic at any time if required.