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Lymphoedema service

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs.

It develops when the lymphatic system does not work properly. The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands throughout the body. The lymphatic system helps fight infection and remove excess fluid.

There are 2 main types of lymphoedema:

Primary Lymphoedema

Primary lymphoedema is caused by faulty genes that affect the development of the lymphatic system.  It can develop at any age, but usually starts during infancy, adolescence, or early adulthood.

Secondary Lymphoedema

Secondary lymphoedema is caused by damage to the lymphatic system or problems with the movement and drainage of fluid in the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphoedema can be the result of a cancer treatment, an infection, injury, inflammation of the limb, or a lack of limb movement.

NHS website – lymphoedema (Opens in a new window)

How to get referred to the lymphoedema service at ESNEFT

Your GP or healthcare professional can refer you to our service if you are diagnosed or have suspected Lymphoedema.

Ipswich Hospital lymphoedema service

Lymphoedema clinics are held at the North end of the hospital (Entrance 15)

Ipswich Hospital Lymphoedema Clinic Accessibility information from AccessAble (Opens in a new window).

Tel: 01473 704 033

Essex lymphoedema service

Lymphoedema services are provided by ESNEFT on behalf of North East Essex Community Services Collaborative. Clinics are held at locations in Colchester and Harwich.

North East Essex Community Services website (Opens in a new window).

What to expect at your Lymphoedema appointment

At your first Lymphoedema appointment we will assess your swelling, movement and skin and begin to discuss treatment. We will discuss what your goals are in relation to your condition and how we can manage and meet this appropriately and safely. We may measure you for compression garments and will likely teach you appropriate exercises and self-lymphatic drainage techniques.

Moving forward you should expect follow up appointments either face to face, telephone or virtually. This will be explained and agreed depending on what treatment is required.

Lymphoedema is a long term condition and therefore is important to self-manage.  We will give you all the tools you need to be able to do so effectively.

Our overall aim is for you to be able to live your life with Lymphoedema by:

  • treating the swelling to reduce it to a level where you can manage
  • give you the knowledge and confidence to deal with it yourself for life
  • support you with advice and further treatment when needed


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