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Welcome to the Lymphcare UK Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Here you should find answers to some of the most common questions we get asked. If you do not find what you are looking for here. Please contact us so we can assist you with your query. Simply click on the + icon to see the answer to each question.

What should I expect at my first appointment?

Your first appointment can take up to 1½ hours. You are welcome to bring a relative or friend along with you.  During the first part of your appointment, we will ask you about your medical history. It is helpful if you can bring with you a list of medications and bring any dressings or creams you use. We will then ask you about your swelling, how long it has been there and how it is affecting you physically and emotionally. This will enable us to offer you the best support and advice. We will then carry out an examination of your swelling. We may take measurements and, with your consent, we may take photographs. These are both helpful as a measure to judge how well your treatment is progressing. If it is your legs that are affected an arterial assessment may be carried out using a painless non-invasive procedure. You may need to come back into the clinic for this. We may suggest to your GP a referral as appropriate to other healthcare provider or specialist service. Before the end of your appointment, we will discuss the different types of treatments you may require and, together with you make a care plan which you will have a copy of.

What is the difference between Lymphoedema and Lipoedema?

Lymphoedema is as a swelling of any part of the body due to lymph fluid accumulating in the tissues because of a damaged lymphatic system. The cause can be primary where there is a defect present from birth although it may not present itself until later in life, or secondary, caused by damage to the lymphatics through cancer, cancer treatments, surgery, trauma or infection. Lipoedema is a condition in which you accumulate a specific type of fat, generally below the waist making your legs and buttocks out of proportion with your upper body. It can also affect your arms. Lipoedema over the years has not always been recognised by the medical profession and can be confused with lymphoedema. Many are told that their lipoedema is excess fat and it is their own fault.

How do I know if I have cellulitis?

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin tissues.If you have  Lymphoedema your risk of experiencing cellulitis is increased due to the high protein levels in your tissues and reduced ability to fight infection. The symptoms are red patches/rash to the area which may be spreading, extra swelling, heat and pain. You may also feel unwell like you have a cold or flu and you may have a temperature. If you suspect you may have cellulitis it is important that you seek further medical advice as a two-week course of antibiotics is advised. For further information see the managing cellulitis on our website.

Why is it so important to look after my skin?

When you have lymphoedema, lipoedema or chronic oedema or you have been identified as being at risk of developing lymphoedema, looking after your skin is the single most important thing you can do. In lymphoedema, the superficial lymphatics in the skin are less able to clear substances such as proteins, which may increase the risk of developing an infection such as cellulitis. Cellulitis can lead to an increase in swelling and then further infection. Having lymphoedema may lead the skin becoming thicker and less supple. Any skin breaks or cracks can make you more likely to get an infection. Keeping your skin healthy, intact and well moisturised helps to prevent this.

How should I look after my skin?

Keep your skin clean and dry by washing and drying well (patting the skin dry – don’t rub) on a daily basis. It is important to pay particular attention to the skin between your fingers or toes, and any skin folds, to prevent fungal infection. Even if your skin is in a good condition moisturising your skin at least once a day is essential, more frequently if you have been advised by your Lymphoedema Nurse Specialist, GP or consultant to do so. This will prevent your skin becoming dry and cracked.

  • Wash any cuts or grazes straight away with clean water, then put on antiseptic cream, cover the area if necessary looking out for the signs of cellulitis
  • Protect your skin from the sun by wearing a high factor sun cream or cover up with clothes
  • Avoid extremes of temperature that can dry your skin – including hot, cold or windy weather

Can I drive with my compression bandages on?

Driving: this can be an issue if you are having compression bandage therapy as part of your plan of care. Compression bandaging can be bulky and can affect what footwear or clothing you wear and may restrict your movement. Always check with your car insurance company that you are still covered to drive whilst in bandaging. It may be advisable to make alternative arrangements for a relative to take you to the clinic. Be responsible and safe.

Can I be seen by your team if I don't live near one of your clinics or as private patient?

Lymphcare group are able to offer flexible assessment and treatment solutions so please contact us on 01384 365014 to find out your options available.

Can I be seen out of area or as private patient?

Lymphcare group are able to offer flexible assessment and treatment solutions so please contact us on 01384 365014 to find out your options available.