Lymphoedema is a long-term 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.

The main symptom of lymphoedema is swelling in all or part of a limb or another part of the body.

At first, the swelling may come and go. It may get worse during the day and go down overnight. Without treatment, it will usually become more severe and persistent.

Other symptoms can include:

  • an aching, heavy feeling
  • difficulty with movement
  • repeated skin infections
  • hard, tight skin
  • folds developing in the skin
  • wart-like growths developing on the skin
  • fluid leaking through the skin

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Surgical lymphoedema clinic - treatment options

We understand that having lymphoedema impacts on your daily life therefore, it's essential for us to find a treatment option that suits your personal circumstances. We are very fortunate to work with Mr Amar Ghattaura, a consultant plastic surgeon who is the National Lead for Lymphoedema in Wales and the Lymphoedema Specialist team. Both Mr Ghattaura and the Lymphoedema Specialist Team have a wealth of experience through their Lymphoedema work in the NHS and are able to advise you on the best treatment option for you.

We offer a full range of interventional treatment options including the below and we can also provide information on non-surgical lymphoedema care such as; compression garments, self massage, skin care and exercise regimes.

Lymphatic venous Anastomosis (LVA)

This is one of the more recent developments in the treatment of lymphoedema that aims to improve the underlying malfunction of the lymphatics. The surgery offers patients an opportunity to significantly reduce the amount of time they are required to wear their compression garments and in some cases may remove this requirement completely. LVA also significantly reduces the risk of cellulitis infections which can exacerbate the lymphoedema.

LVA is a highly specialised service requiring very high magnification microscopes and superfine instruments. Super-microsurgery such as this joins lymphatic vessels in the region of 0.3mm to similar sized veins using sutures that are smaller than a piece of hair.

Lymph Node Transfer

This procedure may be the right option in those patents who have had lymph nodes removed from their groin or armpit though cancer surgery. The surgery is often combined with breast reconstruction using tummy tissue (DIEP flap - Deep inferior epigastric artery flap)

This type of surgery literally moves functioning lymph nodes to replace those nodes that have been removed. Nodes are taken from the groin and placed in the arm-pit or vice versa. The blood vessels that supply the nodes are also transferred and joined to blood vessels in the groin or arm pit. Over time, the lymphatic vessels from the transferred lymph nodes reattach to the current lymphatic system. The surgery also aims to release tight scar tissue in the arm pit or groin and improve limb movement.

High volume liposuction

This is not your usual liposuction service, therefore when comparing providers of this service please be sure to stipulate that you require large volume liposuction for lymphoedema or lipoedema. This specialist liposuction service enables your surgeon to remove large volumes of fluid, much more than would be expected during regular liposuction surgery. Depending on your requirement you may stay up to 2-4 days in hospital before you are discharged.

Once your surgery is complete you will still be required to wear your compression garment, however Mr Ghattaura will be able to advise you on any changes to this regime prior to your surgery.

Liposuction may be the right option for patients with a large volume of fatty excess on their limbs who are not suitable for micro surgical interventions (LVA or lymph node transfer). Following this surgery you will need to continue to wear you compression garments life long, however if the liposuction is for lipoedema we will aim to reduce the amount of time needed for garments.

Our surgical lymphoedema clinic consultants