Lymphedema is a condition that commonly occurs after the lymph nodes are removed as part of a cancer treatment. The arms or legs experience fluid retention and tissue swelling. This occurs because the drainage of fluid is blocked when the lymph nodes are removed, causing fluid to collect in the lymphatic vessels in the arm or leg. Lymphedema in the arms and hands most often occurs in patients with breast cancer and melanoma, while lymphedema of the legs often occur with gynecologic cancers and melanoma.
Until recently, the only way to manage lymphedema was to wear compression garments, exercise the range of motion, and receive massage therapy. For patients that developed severe lymphedema despite these treatments, the only option was radical surgery that involved the removal of the swollen tissues. This surgery was extremely painful and disfiguring.
Fortunately, there have been new advances in lymphedema treatments in recent years. The first option is called lymphatico-venous bypass surgery. Dr. Oliver P. Simmons will reconnect the lymphatic vessels to blood vessels in the affected arm or leg. This allows the excess fluid in the lymphatic vessels to drain into the blood vessels, thus decreasing the swelling. The other option is a lymph node transfer. The lymph nodes are taken from another area of the body and moved to the affected arm or leg. The new lymph nodes replace the ones that were removed and improve the condition.
Feel free to contact Simmons Plastic Surgery today for more information about lymphedema reconstruction in Lexington, South Carolina, and to schedule a consultation with our plastic surgeon.
*Results and patient experience may vary.