Lymphedema is a condition common among those who have undergone breast cancer treatment including axillary node dissections or radiation therapy. Fluid is carried from the arm to lymph nodes, or “filters” of the body, through lymphatic vessels. When these vessels are disturbed through surgeries or radiation, the fluid may not have a place to drain. Removing the lymph nodes can cause scarring that compresses nerves and vessels in the area, causing a lot of pain and swelling in the area. The overall function in the affected area decreases.
Cooperman Plastics is among the few most advanced plastic surgery centers to perform Vascular Lymph Node Transfers, slowly making its way to the United States from Europe, serving as the top surgery for lymphedema. Dr. Cooperman is proud to specialize in this life-changing surgery and offer it to our clients.
What is a Vascular Lymph Node Transfer?
The procedure entails harvesting 1-3 healthy lymph nodes. These are then detached from an area that has not been affected by radiation and surgically placed into the site where the lymph node has been removed. The growth of new lymphatic channels is stimulated by connecting the blood supply of the new lymph nodes to the blood vessels in the affected area.
Results of the procedure have proven to continue long-term, with an overall decrease in lymphedema symptoms and minimal swelling in the arm.
The Ideal Candidates for a Vascular Lymph Node Transfer in Livingston:
Have been diagnosed with lymphedema as a result of breast cancer
Scar tissue from breast surgery has fully healed
Experienced multiple infections due to lymphedema
Currently NOT receiving chemotherapy
Continue to experience persistent pain in the arm
Be sure to be completely honest about your full medical history when undergoing a consultation with Dr. Cooperman. Tobacco users are NOT eligible for a Vascular Lymph Node Transfer, as risks are doubled.
Vascular Lymph Node Transfer Surgery & Recovery
A Vascular Lymph Node Transfer is performed as an outpatient surgery at the hospital. The procedure takes between 4-6 hours, in which you will be under general anesthetics. Sometimes the procedure can be done simultaneously with a DIEP-Flap for breast reconstruction.
You can expect to walk immediately after the surgery, although you will experience swelling and pain at the site of surgery. Allow about a month for proper healing, following all Dr. Cooperman’s orders to ensure optimal recovery.