To help combat this the surgeon makes two to three small incisions measuring an inch or less in the patient's arm and the fluid gets re-directed. This is a minimally invasive procedure but complex in nature. It does not cure the problem, but brings it down to a much more tolerable level with giving the fluid an escape route. This procedure is currently being done at the M. D. Anderson Cancer center in the hopes for a speedier recovery and to offer the patient a better quality of life too. BD
What is Lymphedema? From Dr. Bates, my coverage on her post a short while back that explains exactly what lymphedema is.
“Lymphedema is a very debilitating and progressive condition with no known cure. The unfortunate patient faces a lifelong struggle. Frequency: * In the United States, the highest incidence of lymphedema is observed following breast cancer surgery, particularly among those who undergo radiation therapy following axillary lymphadenectomy. Among this population, 10-40% develop some degree of ipsilateral upper extremity lymphedema.”
Breast cancer patients with lymphedema in their upper arm experienced reduced fluid in the swollen arm by up to 39 percent after undergoing a super-microsurgical technique known as lymphaticovenular bypass, report researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The results from the prospective analysis, presented today at the 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, suggest another option for breast cancer patients considering ways to manage lymphedema, a common and debilitating condition following surgery and/or radiation therapy for breast cancer.