WHAT IS LYMPHEDEMA?
Lymphedema is a condition in which the arms and/or legs become painfully swollen as a result of dysfunction in the lymph nodes. The condition may be caused by a number of factors, including cancer, trauma, and infection.
Common symptoms of the condition include swelling caused by a build up of lymphatic fluid; pain and sensitivity in the extremities; redness in the extremities; and a change in skin texture.
WHAT DOES LYMPHEDEMA SURGERY INVOLVE?
There are two main treatment options for the condition: lymphatic bypass; and vascularised lymph node transfer. Before you undergo surgery, Dr September will evaluate your condition and thoroughly examine your limbs in order to determine the best treatment plan for your needs.
During lymphatic bypass, Dr September will make small incisions in the limbs, and use a surgical microscope to identify lymphatic vessels beneath the surface of the skin. Once these vessels have been located, they will be connected to other surrounding blood vessels. This will help to redirect excess lymphatic fluid.
In the case of vascularised lymph node transfer, lymph nodes are harvested from various parts of the body, including the abdomen and neck. Dr September will then use microsurgery techniques to transfer the lymph nodes, which helps to promote lymphatic drainage.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
After surgery, your incisions will be dressed and bandaged. You may have a drainage tube placed to drain any excess fluid and blood from your body.
Dr September will explain how to best take care of your surgical site to ensure that it stays clean and free from infection. He will prescribe medications to help ease any pain and discomfort following surgery.
You can expect some swelling while your body heals. Try and rest as much as possible during this recovery period.