After axillary lymph node clearance for breast cancer has been performed, 40% of patients may develop permanent upper limb lymphedema.
In cases of an advanced lymphedema the lymph node transfer (LNT) operation can effectively solve the problem and cure the disease.
LNT procedure consists of two steps
first we harvest 2-3 superficial nodes from the lower abdomen near the hip and second we transplant them into the axilla at the area where the original nodes had been removed.
Hospital stay usually takes two to three days; the patients are encouraged to walk at the same day after the operation and return to everyday activities in 2-3 weeks.
Manual lymphatic drainage by our lymphedema therapist begins 2 weeks before the surgery and continues for 10-15 days postoperatively.
After that, patients wear a glove for 4-6 months. Removing the glove there is no need for further protection.
Simultaneous breast reconstruction and lymphedema treatment
Patients which are interested in reconstructing their breast after mastectomy and also suffer from lymphedema can undergo in one surgery at the same time. Skin and fat from the abdomen including 2-3 lymph nodes can be harvested and reconstruct the breast and cure the lymphedema at the same procedure.
Hospital stay usually takes 5-7 days. Our patients are encouraged to walk the next day of the operation and return to everyday activities in 2-3 weeks. Manual lymphatic drainage begins 2 weeks before the surgery and continues for 10-15 days postoperatively. After that, patients wears a glove for 4-6 months. After removing the glove there is no need for further protection. This combined procedure allows simultaneous treatment of both problems with superior aesthetic results.