New Surgical Procedure May Help Lymphedema ( Autologous Vascularized Lymph Node )

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Test surgery in Manhattan

One of the serious complications of breast cancer includes lymphedema. Some of the prominent plastic surgeons from the USA undertook an experimental surgery that may be beneficial in curing lymphedema. Dr. Corinne Backer is the pioneering surgeon who removed some lymphatic nodes from the patient’s groin to implant in the underarm from where nodes had been removed during an earlier surgery to treat breast cancer.

Warning on the amount of tissue that must be removed

Although, this procedure is expected to overcome lymphedema after a surgery for curing breast cancer, Dr. Becker warned on the amount of tissue that could be extracted. According to Dr. Becker, if the surgeons removed too much of the tissue, it could result in injuring the patients and may possibly cause lymphedema in another part of the body. She said that surgeons must not become “greedy” while extracting the tissue to be used for transplantation.

Autologous vascularized lymph node transfer

This new surgical procedure is known as the autologous vascularized lymph node and is useful for treating lymphedema. During the surgery undertaken to cure breast cancer, it is often seen that the removal of the lymphatic nodes under the arms, which is the closet area where surgery is done may result in the spread of the cancer. However, the removal of the nodes leads to soreness and acute swelling in the region.

The methodology of the new procedure

Under the new surgical procedure that is expected to treat lymphedema caused due to breast cancer, the surgeon replaces the nodes that are taken out. The plastic surgeon uses the healthy nodes from another part of the body to replace the nodes that are taken out during the breast cancer treatment. When the transplant is successful, the replaced nodes adapt to the new locations and connect to the vessels. These in turn commence their normal functioning, which is to eliminate waste and draining it out of the area to avoid the accumulation under the arms.

The procedure does entail certain risk factors

Although, the new procedure is expected to be beneficial in curing lymphedema, there are certain risks involved with this surgery. The procedure is not widely used in the United States of America and is generally used to treat patients who fail to respond with the conventional methods of treatment. Moreover, because there are no clinical research findings to support the suitability of this procedure, patients may find it difficult to cover the expenses incurred on this treatment with their medical insurance.