Can a Lymphedema Surgery Cure My Lymphedema?
Many Houston patients with advanced or aggressive cases of lymphedema are looking for a treatment option that will provide them much-needed relief. Often these Houston women have already tried several lymphedema treatments, such as elevation, compression sleeves and garments, bandages, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise and weight loss, but are still suffering from excessive swelling due to lymph node loss or damage. Many of these women research for solutions online and have found that lymphedema surgery may be an option for their unique case. And they’re often wondering, “Can a lymphedema surgery cure my case of lymphedema?”
The Background on Lymphedema Surgery
While a rare procedure, lymphedema surgery has shown promising results in reducing the painful swelling associated with lymphedema. Unfortunately, both lymphedema surgery and other lymphedema treatment options are unable to completely cure lymphedema, though they can significantly reduce the symptoms and swelling experienced by patients. Houston doctors Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig of Fusi & Craig Plastic Surgery are among the few qualified lymphedema surgeons in the country, and they have written this blog post to help answer your questions about the procedure.
What is Lymphedema Surgery?
A lymphedema surgeon can actually perform one of three different surgeries to alleviate the symptoms of lymphedema:
One of the first types of surgeries that a lymphedema surgeon can perform to reduce the condition’s painful swelling is liposuction. This is because Swedish lymphedema surgeon Dr. Brorson discovered that severe non-pitting lymphedema (meaning the type of swelling that, when pushed with your finger, doesn’t indent) contains a significant amount of fatty tissue. For breast cancer patients with severe swelling in the arms associated with lymphedema, this liposuction procedure can reduce the volume of the arm to the point that the remaining swelling can then be treated with bandages and compression garments. While aesthetic liposuction is performed by thousands of plastic surgeons across the country, only an experienced lymphedema surgeon like Houston’s Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig should perform liposuction on a lymphedema patient.
Lymph Node Transfer or Transplant
The second type of lymphedema surgery is a lymph node transfer or transplant, in which a lymphedema surgeon uses microsurgery techniques to remove a healthy lymph node and its blood vessels from the groin or abdomen and transfer or transplant it into the affected arm. By reattaching the healthy lymph node through microsurgery techniques, the goal of this surgery is to promote normal lymph fluid flow.
The final procedure that your lymphedema surgeon may perform is lymphovenous anastomoses. Using microsurgery techniques, your lymphedema surgeon will create tiny connections between the lymphatic vessels and the veins, in attempts to provide the lymph fluid with new pathways for exiting the arm.
How Can I Learn More About Lymphedema Surgery?
Lymphedema surgery is still considered new and experimental, and there are only a select few qualified lymphedema surgeons in the United States. If you are a Houston-area woman with lymphedema, the best way to learn more about lymphedema surgery to speak with Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig themselves.
To schedule a consultation at the Houston-based Fusi & Craig Plastic Surgery, call (713) 346-9909.