Specialist in lymphatic system surgery


The topic of Mr Ramsey’s MD thesis is lymphatic venous anastomosis. He lectures nationally and internationally and recently spoke at the annual meeting of the World Society of Lymphedema Surgery. He has written articles, book chapters and papers on the subject.

Lymphoedema occurs when your lymphatic system is not functioning effectively, whether as a result of incorrect development or damage caused by trauma. It presents as swelling and is most commonly located in the arms or legs. It is thought that over 240,000 men and women in the UK are affected by lymphoedema.

Traditionally, treatment of this condition has emphasised management rather than cure and has relied on therapies such as compression bandaging of the affected limb, elevation, exercise and avoiding potential infections. In recent years, we have seen a number of advances in the surgical treatment of lymphoedema and there are three main, accepted surgical approaches:

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Liposuction: using liposuction, the surgeon aims to reduce the volume of fluids in the affected limb and can be effective if performed by a skilled and experienced practitioner. However, it doesn’t address the root cause of lymphoedema.

Lymph node transfer: a lymph node from an unaffected part of the body is transferred into the affected lymph node basin – typically the armpit or groin. The aim is to improve drainage and could be a highly successful treatment, but there are some unresolved issues with this procedure and until they are addressed we do not offer lymph node transfer at the Royal Marsden Hospital where I practice.

Lymphatico-venous bypass surgery: this technique involves the surgeon re-routing lymphatic fluid by joining lymphatic vessels onto small veins just under the surface of the skin. Potentially, it could represent a long-term effective cure for lymphoedema, meaning no further need for elevation or compression garments in the future.

‘Lymphatico-Venous Bypass Surgery for Lymphoedema’, LymphLine

In an article appearing in LymphLine, the Lymphoedema Support Network’s quarterly newsletter, Mr Kelvin Ramsey discussed the impact that new imaging techniques have had on lymphatico-venous bypass surgery. Surgeons have real-time visualisation of dynamic lymph flow which dramatically reduces the length of the operation and the degree of invasiveness required. 

What my patients say about me

Mr Ramsey performed a breast reduction and abdominoplasty for me in October 2017. Prior to the operation, I had two consultations where the procedure was explained to me clearly and concisely. I was also talked through the possible pitfalls. I am happy to report that I am delighted with the results. The standard of the work is excellent. Obviously, you have scars after such procedures but these are incredibly neat and fading fast.

Mr Ramsey was very professional in the way he dealt with me while also being pleasant to talk to. He put me at my ease right from the start. I had total confidence in his abilities and he has more than lived up to my expectations. I could not recommend him highly enough.

Penny AtkinsonBreast Reduction and Abdominoplasty