The Lymphoedema Service at UCLH operates within the Cancer Services Division, providing a comprehensive service including assessment, diagnosis, conservative treatment and management of lymphoedema. The service is clinically-led by Kay Eaton (Consultant Nurse in Cancer and Supportive Care) and currently staffed by a clinical nurse specialist and a lymphoedema specialist physiotherapist.
At present we do not offer a service for infants or children under the age of 13 years.
Clinic hours are 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.
- Initial assessments take place in the New Patient Clinic on a Thursday afternoon.
- Lymphoedema follow-up assessment clinic takes place on a Friday afternoon.
- Intensive treatment clinics take place Monday to Friday in the morning.
- Inpatients within UCLH are also assessed and treated by the service.
Lymphoedema manifests itself as a swelling in a part of the body and is due to failure in lymph drainage in the area affected. It can affect any part of the body, but is most commonly seen in the arm or leg. Depending on its origin, lymphoedema is divided into primary or secondary lymphoedema. Primary lymphoedema is where the failure of the lymphatic function is due to a congenital malformation of the lymphatic system, and secondary lymphoedema occurs where there has been damage to the lymphatic system.
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition which may be progressive, and lifelong self-management of this condition is important. Although this condition cannot be cured, the lymphoedema can often be improved and the aim of treatment will be to reduce and control the swelling. Every person with lymphoedema is different and a treatment plan will be decided after assessment of individual needs. The swelling with lymphoedema is usually mild and can be managed easily. Patients are shown how they can best manage and control the swelling. Sometimes the lymphoedema requires daily intensive treatment for a period of time by a specialist lymphoedema practitioner. Treatment at University College Hospital conforms to the internationally established conservative management of lymphoedema. The focus of treatment is on reducing the swelling, improving the skin and tissue changes, controlling the swelling and teaching and empowering the individual to control and manage their condition.
The demand for our service is steadily increasing, and therefore there are criteria governing our acceptance of referrals to the service.
The Lymphoedema Support Network is a registered charity and the UK's national patient support organisation for lymphoedema
Website details: www.lymphoedema.org/lsn