See a GP if you have symptoms of lymphoedema. If you're being treated for cancer and are at risk of developing lymphoedema, you'll be monitored for the condition afterwards.

In many cases, it's possible to diagnose lymphoedema by:

The GP may refer you to a specialist lymphoedema treatment centre for further assessment.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the condition from getting worse.

Further tests

In most cases, further tests are not necessary, but they may occasionally be used to assess and monitor your condition.

Measuring limb volume

In some cases, tests to calculate the volume of an affected limb may be carried out.

These may include:

Bioimpedance testing

During a bioimpedance test, small metallic discs called electrodes are placed on different parts of your body.

The electrodes release a small, painless electric charge that's measured using a handheld device. Changes in the strength of the current can indicate the presence of fluid in your tissue.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests may also be used if there's uncertainty around the diagnosis or to rule out other causes of swelling.

These include:

These scans can be used to create a clearer picture of the affected tissue.

Page last reviewed: 1 August 2019
Next review due: 1 August 2022