lymphedema prevention



Prevention is better than cure.

Keep your lymphedematous limb spotlessly clean.

Avoid any trauma (knocks, cuts, sunburn, insect bites). Use of pumps, massage therapy, heat etc are to be done under medical supervision or on specific advise of Doctors.

Keep the limb as cool as possible in hot weather.

Do Not pick up heavy loads with an arm 'at risk', e.g. a case or heavy shopping. Do Not use heeled shoes in lymphedema of the leg. Do not walk barefoot.

Any redness or other signs of infection like pain brawny hardness  should be treated AT ONCE (keep antibiotics in your purse). All infections need antibiotics.

It is very important to keep the skin supple and moist in winters. Best not to use creams in summer.

You MUST NOT allow ANYONE to measure blood pressure, to take blood, nor to give an injection in a lymphodematous limb or one at risk. Another limb can be used, even a leg.

Avoid tight clothing or jewelry. There should be no redness or indentation when you remove clothing, otherwise it is stopping some of the lymphatic drainage that you do have left!

Try not to lie on an arm at risk when sleeping or resting.

Your way of life may need to be modified; but you should not become a 'victim' to the disease. You just need to be aware of the facts about your condition and to be sensible. Do not give up sports or hobbies that you love. Low impact sports should be encouraged, as long as the limb is monitored.

Wear the compression garment at all times including at night. If you are going out for a special occasion, you may be able to leave the compression garment off - just for this time.

DO exercise; but NOT too much (don't make the limb ache with tiredness).

Self massage is important. It consists of regular gentle pressure with rotary motion on the key drainage areas which are - Both groins, both axilla and just above the collar bone in the neck (especially the involved side).



Dr Shashi Bhushan Gogia, MBBS (AIIMS), MS (AIIMS), is a practising surgeon in West Delhi. Dr Gogia has a special interest in plastic surgery, and is a widely acclaimed expert in the management of lymphedema. He is the inventor of VIPEL a machine that effectively treats lymphedema without surgery. Contact Nos: 5736291, More on lymphedema is available at If you have lymphedema please do read the full article at

Back to Top

Last revised: May 12, 2000