Welsh wound Innovation Centre


What is Lymphoedema?

LymphoedemaLymphoedema is a chronic swelling, most commonly of the arms, hands, legs and feet, due to lymphatic system failure. It can be cancer or non-cancer related.
Lymphoedema occurs due to lymphatic abnormalities or from damage including inflammation, infection, trauma, tumour, surgery or radiation. It ca occur from birth, after surgery and after certain cancer treatments
Lymphoedema can affect people of all ages from young to old, and can occur in any part of the body.
Lymphoedema affects individuals physically, psychologically and socially and it has a significant impact on quality of life and the ability to undertake the normal activities of daily living. 
Further information about lymphoedema is available from the NHS Direct Wales website 
Lymphoedema is said to affect at least two per 1000 people. In Wales there are currently in excess of 10,000 patients on an active caseload. Every month over 520 new cancer and non-cancer lymphoedema patient referrals are received. 
Although lymphoedema is a chronic condition with no cure, 60% of patients will self manage their lymphoedema by wearing compression garments (often socks and arm sleeves), exercising and adhering to a self massage regime. These patients still require lymphoedema services but not intensive management.

Lymphoedema Support Groups

In addition to the services provided by the All Wales Lymphoedema Network Team, there are several Patient Support Groups in operation across Wales that provide advice, support and information to those affected by lymphoedema.

The list of support groups can be found here.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised massage to reduce the swelling.

MLD UK is an organisation that provides therapy support. For more information, visit their website.



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