Lymphoedema and Lipoedema

About this service

The Lymphoedema Service at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, provides specialist assessment and treatment for children and adults with lymphoedema of any cause, and lipoedema. We accept patients from any part of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Lymphoedema service is provided by experienced Healthcare Professionals with specialist qualifications in lymphoedema management, with the support of a Lymphoedema Technician and assistant. We will see patients with oedema that has been present for more than three months or is related to cancer and its treatment.

Following assessment we are able to provide a range of treatments tailored to the individual patient, alongside self-management techniques. Our aim is to improve symptoms, stabilise the condition, help patients to understand their condition and learn how to manage it themselves.

What to expect at your first appointment

Your initial appointment will be between 60 and 90 minutes. You will be seen by one of the Lymphoedema Clinicians who will assess you and aim to give a diagnosis. You will be asked to undress so that the therapist can examine both the swollen and the adjoining area.

You may be asked to get onto a couch to enable the therapist to assess you. If you have difficulty getting in and out of a chair or bed, or need special equipment to help you, please let the clinic know before you come to your appointment.

If you think you would like someone else to be present, you are welcome to bring a friend, family member or carer or ask us to provide a chaperone for you.

At the end of your initial assessment we will agree a treatment plan. We’ll rarely start treatment at this initial appointment and you’ll need to return to the clinic for further appointments.

Contact information

Where to find us

The Lymphoedema Service is situated in the Therapy department on the second floor of the Princess Alexandra Wing (Maternity) at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

Information about Lymphoedema

The following embedded content is supplied by the NHS website nhs.uk

For more information on lymphoedema, you may find this short video useful.

Further information

General lymphoedema information
Websites with information on Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema after breast cancer
Head and neck Lymphoedema
Genital Lymphoedema
Exercise, healthy eating, and Lymphoedema

Information about Lipoedema

The following embedded content is supplied by the NHS website nhs.uk

Further information

Websites with information on Lipoedema

Information about Cellulitis in Lymphoedema

What is Cellulitis?

If you have lymphoedema, the build-up of fluid in your tissues makes you more vulnerable to infection and your lymphatic system, in the affected area, does not function adequately to fight infection. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layer of skin (dermis) that often affects people with lymphoedema. Cellulitis can also sometimes cause lymphoedema.
Symptoms of cellulitis can include:

  • redness and a feeling of heat in the skin
  • pain and increased swelling in the affected area or in the armpit or groin
  • a high temperature (fever) or chills
  • flu like symptoms

Cellulitis rarely affects both legs at the same time, this may be a syndrome called Red Legs. For more information on Red Legs please see the British Lymphology Society Red Leg Pathway.

What should I do if I develop cellulitis?

  1. Contact your doctor immediately as you will need antibiotic treatment. For information on the type of antibiotics used in the treatment of cellulitis in lymphoedema, see the Cellulitis Consensus Document available from this page. You can take this to your GP to help them to treat you
  2. Remove all compression garments until the area feels better and they can be tolerated again. Once the affected area is comfortable you should resume wear.
  3. Suspend other forms of treatment such as Lymphatic Drainage and exercise programmes until your symptoms have responded to antibiotic
  4. Elevate the affected limb
  5. The recommended pain relief is Paracetamol

Following an episode of cellulitis

If you feel your lymphoedema is worse or your compression garment no longer fits, following the resolution of the infection, then please contact the lymphoedema clinic for advice.

Patient Feedback

If you would like to give us feedback on the care that you received at the Lymphoedema Service please share your story at Care Opinion.

Page last reviewed: 31 January 2024

Alert: Infected Blood Products Inquiry

If you are concerned following news coverage of the Infected Blood Products Inquiry, you can find help and support on the NHS website: Infected blood support (nhs.uk)

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