Lymphoedema is an accumulation of lymph fluid in the tissues under the skin, caused by failure of the lymphatic system to drain lymph away from an area of the body. There are many causes, and the condition is most frequently seen in arms and legs. Sometimes the terms 'lymphoedema', 'chronic oedema' and 'lipoedema' are interchanged by healthcare professionals and this can create confusion and uncertainty. An assessment with LSS will confirm the diagnosis and provide an explanation of your condition. Written literature to aid understanding will also be given to support the findings of the assessment.

Types of lymphoedema:

  • Primary Lymphoedema
  • Secondary Lymphoedema
  • Chronic Lymphoedema
Can be inherited and is caused by the under development of lymphatic vessels. The swelling may be evident at birth or may develop in teenage years or later in life
Is caused by an external factor that damages part of the lymphatic system. The most common causes are: Cancer and/or the effects of treatment e.g. surgery, radiotherapy and the removal of lymph nodes Infection (cellulitis) Trauma Severe burns
Is caused by the impact of obesity or lack of movement (immobility) that creates an additional pressure on the lymphatic vessels and veins to drain fluid.


Is a condition occurring in females. The oedema can occur in the legs, thighs and buttocks and is the result of an abnormal accumulation of fatty cells.

Signs & Symptoms of Oedema
One or more of the following signs and/or symptoms can be present:
  • Swelling
  • Dry, tight skin
  • Leaking fluid
  • Cellulitis (See below)
  • Pain
  • Heaviness
  • Ache
  • Reduced function


Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying tissue that can develop in a swollen area very quickly. The symptoms of redness, pain and heat are accompanied by a feeling of general un-wellness, and, in severe cases, systematic upset and high fever. Antibiotics and rest are needed immediately. Treatment necessitates a call to the General Practitioner, or other health services if out of hours eg an NHS `Walk In' centre or an NHS 111 service.

Contact Info

For NHS enquiries

  jane board

  julia anderson

For all other enquiries

  jane board


Location Address

Harbour Medical Practice
1, Pacific Drive,
Sovereign Harbour North
East Sussex, BN23 6DW


+44(0) 7786 725363

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