New microsurgical technique offers hope to those with lymphedema

Aortus Member Posts: 967
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I came across this info on another board and immediately thought of the sisters here who suffer from lymphedema. Please click here for the full text.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2009) — 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 March 23 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.

Lymphedema results when the lymph nodes are removed or blocked due to treatment and lymph fluid accumulates causing chronic swelling in the upper arm. Currently, there is no cure or preventive measure for lymphedema and it is difficult to manage; the use of compression bandages, massage and other forms of lymphatic therapy are commonly recommended options for patients. According to the National Cancer Institute, 25 to 30 percent of women who have breast cancer surgery with lymph node removal and radiation therapy develop lymphedema.

Researchers evaluated 20 breast cancer patients with stage II and III treatment-related lymphedema of the upper arm who underwent a lymphaticovenular bypass at M. D. Anderson from December 2005 to September 2008. Due to lymphedema, the patients' affected arm was an average of 34 percent larger compared to the unaffected arm prior to the surgery. Of these 20 patients, 19 reported initial significant clinical improvement following the procedure. In those patients with postoperative volumetric analysis measurements, total mean reduction in the volume differential at one month was 29 percent, at three months 33 percent, at six months 39 percent and 25 percent at one year.


In lymphaticovenular bypass surgery, surgeons use tiny microsurgical tools to make two to three small incisions measuring an inch or less in the patient's arm. Lymphatic fluid is then redirected to microscopic vessels - approximately 0.3 - 0.8 millimeters in diameter - to promote drainage and alleviate lymphedema. The procedure is minimally invasive and is generally completed in less than four hours under general anesthesia, allowing patients to return home from the hospital within 24 hours. M. D. Anderson is among a few institutions in the United States to offer this technically complex surgery.



  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    Thanks a bunch!
    Aortus, thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I have been dealing with this problem for 10 years now and this does give me hope. I copied the link and forwarded it on to others that I know also have this problem. Thank you again for you kindness.

  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    Thanks Joe
    I also copied this and will look into it. Thank you for your research!!
    God Bless
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    Thank you Joe for taking the
    Thank you Joe for taking the time to share this with us. I will copy and paste this onto my desktop for future reference. Hugs to you and Moopy, Lili
  • mjfromtx
    mjfromtx Member Posts: 49

    Thank you Joe for taking the
    Thank you Joe for taking the time to share this with us. I will copy and paste this onto my desktop for future reference. Hugs to you and Moopy, Lili

    I have lymphadema in my hand and wrist. I use the glove and arm sleeve and that helps with the swelling. This is encouraging news! While mine is not in my upper arm, I wonder if this could be done in the hand/wrist area? I'm going to check out the whole article. Thank you for passing it along! MJ