Lymphoedema in leg prevention

I am likely to have Groin Node Dissection, cancer  has been found after a biopsy. I have had a ct scan and soon will have an MIR of my head. The surgeon and nurse have explained the operation but I am worried about 

Lymphoedema . I walk 2 miles a day if I couldn't go out I would be isolated . What could I do to prevent Lymphoedema? or at least help with it.

  • Hello Margndog and thanks for posting

    I am sorry to hear about your situation and appreciate you having questions

    Lymphoedema is a possible risk with a lymph node dissection. However sometimes it is unavoidable even when doing all the right things but I can suggest some things that can help or in the case of lymphoedema some ways to help manage and control it.

    Firstly it's great to hear you enjoy walking and getting out and about. This is great not just for the body but for the mind too. Any exercise but walking in particular helps to get the circulation and the lymphatic system moving. Even after surgery patients should be following the advice given by their team in performing regular movement and exercise as soon as they can.

    Eating a balanced diet to manage a healthy weight also helps to prevent and manage lymphoedema.

    Keeping good skin hygiene and moisturisation can also play an important role in preventing breakdown of the skin that could introduce infection.

    I hope this is helpful but please get back to us if you need any more information or support.  You may find it helpful to talk things through with one of the nurses on our helpline.  The number to call is Freephone 0808 800 4040 and the lines are open from 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday.

    wishing you all the best,

    Take care


  • Hi Margndog,

    I am one of the people who were unlucky enough to get bilateral Lymphoedema in both arms, when I had 2 bouts of breast cancer within a year of one another. That was 14 years ago. I visited my breast clinic on another matter, this week and was told that Lymphoedema is now almost a thing of the past, thanks to the contrast dyes used to identify the sentinel nodes today.

    I hope that you get your MRI soon and that your surgery goes well.

    Please keep in touch and let us know how you get on. We are always here for you.

    Kind regards,


  • Hi Jolamine,

    It's correct about the contrast dyes, however this is only with regards to Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsies where only 1 or 2 nodes are removed. Sadly, Margaret is having a full node clearance where many nodes are removed and they don't use the contrast dyes.


  • Hi Margaret,

    I think I've mentioned before on your previous post - make sure you keep your leg elevated after surgery - when sitting, place on a cushion on a stool - when in bed, raise the bottom of the bed on bricks or put your leg on top of 2 pillows. You need to try and have your leg level with your heart to help encourage the lymph to travel upwards instead of collecting in your groin. 

    Also buy some very thick tights or some lycra shorts. Wearing tight garments around the upper leg, groin and lower abdomen helps the lymph circulate.

    Keep an eye out for any sudden swelling and tight skin or redness and burning - contact your SCN immediately if this happens. Take a look at the Lymphoedema Support Network website for helpful information. Hopefully it will all go well and you won't suffer from it. Good luck,


  • Hi Angie,

    Thank you for this - that makes sense. She will probably be given some post-surgery stockings to wear immediately following surgery.  Perhaps it might be best for Margaret to wear some heavy support tights after that, which I'm sure she could possibly get on prescription.

    Many thanks for pulling me up on my misinformation - I'd hate to give advice that is incorrect.

    Kind regards,

    Jolamine xx