The ALERT treatment difference

DIAGNOSIS AND ASSESSMENT

In your initial visit to the surgical assessment clinic (ALAC) you will be assessed by Dr Helen Mackie (lymphoedema medical specialist) and a lymphoedema therapist. A medical and lymphoedema history will be taken as well as a complete physical, functional and psychological assessment about the impact that lymphoedema has on your life. You will be encouraged to fill in some questionnaires and have measurements taken.

Physical Measurements may include: circumferential measurements using a tape measure; L-Dex measurements to monitor the fluid; range of movement measurements of your limb and joints; how hard or soft the limb feels and whether the symptoms vary with time.

Functional Assessment may include: how the lymphoedema symptoms affect your ability to complete everyday activities such as personal care, household tasks, paid and unpaid work, sleep and leisure activities.

Research shows us that living with lymphoedema can impact your feelings and emotions. The clinical team wants to assist in managing lymphoedema across all aspects of life and wants to provide support and strategies in dealing with psychological symptoms.

Patients attending the clinic may also be encouraged to complete further diagnostic testing such as lymphoscintigraphy, MRI scanning, ultrasound and blood tests. The results of these will be used to help the team understand your condition and gain better knowledge of how lymphoedema develops and what might be the best treatment recommendation for you. 

Following initial assessment in the lymphoedema clinic, recommendations for further assessment and management will be made in consultation with yourself and the team according to your own personal goals and needs. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled if required.

If you are considered appropriate for surgical options you will be given written information and an appointment to see one of the plastic surgeons on the team. We offer three different surgical options, lymphovenous anastomosis (LVA) and lymph node transfer (LNT) for early to moderate lymphoedema and medical liposuction for advanced lymphoedema.