Late stage upper limb lymphoedema
Severe swelling with skin folds
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These pathways and guidelines are designed to support the diagnosis, investigation and management of people with lymphoedema and chronic oedema.
Lymphoedema is swelling primarily due to lymphatic insufficiency. This may be an inherited or congenital primary lymphoedema, or an acquired lymphoedema that is secondary to cancer treatment, or non-cancer causes including surgery and infection.
Some individuals develop chronic swelling that starts with a non-lymphatic cause. Several factors may contribute to a sustained increase in interstitial fluid, overwhelming and compromising the lymphatic system, often leading to lymphoedema, and delayed wound healing.
These pathways and clinical guidelines were developed by a collaborative process involving NHS Highland professionals from vascular services, dermatology, oncology, pharmacy and microbiology; along with people living with lymphoedema. This was undertaken as part of the Highland Lymphoedema Project, between 2012 and 2014. Comments are welcome.
Patient information can be accesed here.