Here’s an interesting update from the world of medicine; a new treatment is being observed that is said to potentially ease one of the most common complications experienced by breast cancer patients.
Top plastic surgeons recently observed an experimental surgery that may cure lymphedema, a serious complication of breast cancer treatment. Lymphedema is observed after the removal of the lymph node under the arm, believed to help prevent the spreading of cancer, in effect causing chronic pain and stiffness in the arm.
This surgery, called autologous vascularized lymph node transfer, involves harvesting lymph nodes from a patients groin, and transferring them under the arm.
More than 2 million women in the United States have been treated for breast cancer, and certain studies suggest lymphedema develops within five years in up to 40 percent of women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.
While lymph node transplants have proven to be effective for some patients, this surgery is controversial in the U.S., and not without risk. Before transferring the nodes, dense scar tissue under the arm must be cleared away, putting the nerves and blood vessels in the area at risk of damage.
Whether or not this procedure moves forward as a recommended treatment for women suffering from lymphedema, it’s exciting to see such strides made in increased efforts towards treatment!