Lymphoedema Research Group

Lymphoedema Research Group

Head of Unit: Professor Neil Piller
Phone: +61 8 8204 4711

Lymphoedema is a swelling of the limbs that can form when the body’s lymphatic system is unable to manage the natural flow of fluids around the body. Approximately 30% of women who have undergone surgery and or radiotherapy for breast cancer, and a similar number of men and women who have had treatment for gastrointestinal and reproductive cancers end up with the condition.

This is called secondary lymphoedema. Primary lymphoedema is an inherited condition where the lymph system has not fully developed.

The Flinders Lymphoedema Research Group focuses on prevention, assessment, treatment and the management of lymphoedemas with the aim of improving patient outcomes by reducing the incident of clinically manifest lymphoedemas. The research group have also gained some insight into other swellings (such as lipoedema) that look like lymphoedema but are not the result of cancer treatments.

Professor Neil Piller and his team have worked on strategies for the early detection and the targeting of therapy to minimise the impact of lymphoedema. In conjunction with members of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Flinders Medical Centre, the team have developed revolutionary new equipment to detect and monitor early changes in the structure of limbs at risk of lymphoedema before the swelling becomes clinically apparent.

Through this early detection and targeted intervention in the form of physical and natural therapies to promote lymph flow, the team have been able to show the benefit of early intervention and how it can significantly reduce the impact of this sometimes disabling condition.

Research outcomes for the community

The major outcome for the community at large relates to our findings from the clinical trial that patients can manage their chronic lymphoedema at home, thereby reducing the need for travel and larger periods of work/treatment.  Treatment still needs to be undertaken by professionals from time to time but the additional control and patient empowerment is a large positive.


For more information about the work of the Lymphoedema Research Group please click on the following links.


Completed Trials

Research Group Members

Prospective Students