Lymphoedema

Understanding lymphoedema and its causes.

What is lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is swelling of the arm and/or other limbs which is caused when the lymphatic system does not function properly. Over time this swelling increases and can lead to a feeling of heaviness and discomfort in the area. If left untreated, it can lead to loss of mobility and the skin becomes prone to infection.

Secondary lymphoedema can result from damage to the lymphatic vessels and/or lymph nodes. This may be from surgery, the lymph nodes being removed, and/or radiation therapy. There are effective treatment programs that can reduce the swelling and risk of complications. At Icon, we can assist with management techniques and teach you how to self-manage your lymphoedema at home. The earlier lymphoedema is recognised, the better it can be managed.

How do I recognise lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema can be recognised by an unexplained swelling. Over time this swelling increases and can lead to a feeling of heaviness and discomfort in the area. If left untreated, it can lead to loss of mobility and the skin becomes prone to infection.

What causes lymphoedema?

There are two types of lymphoedema: primary and secondary lymphoedema.

  • Primary lymphoedema is thought to be the result of congenital abnormality of the lymphatic system
  • Secondary lymphoedema can result from damage to the lymphatic vessels and/or lymph nodes. This may be from surgery, the lymph nodes being removed, and/or radiation therapy

Other causes include trauma, infection, obesity and immobility.

Can lymphoedema be treated?

Lymphoedema is a condition that can’t be cured at this time. However, there are effective treatment programs that can reduce the swelling, risk of complications and teach you how to self-manage your lymphoedema at home.

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  • 04 896 0200
  • Level B3, Bowen Specialist Medical Centre 98 Churchill Drive Crofton Downs Wellington 6035