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The University of Chicago Medicine is one of just a few centers in the country offering lymphovenous bypass and lymph node transfer, innovative surgical techniques designed to reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort for patients with lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a disorder in which lymph fluid accumulates, leading to chronic swelling. It is a common complication following lymph node removal or radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment. The condition can develop from a few days to a few years after treatment and usually affects the arms or legs. While there is no cure, standard care for lymphedema includes physical therapy to decrease pain and improve mobility as well as the use of pressure garments to keep lymph fluid moving.
Common contributors to lymphedema include:
If the condition worsens and becomes difficult to manage, lymphovenous bypass or vascularized lymph node transfer surgery may help relieve the problem:
These surgical procedures are usually more effective for swelling in the arms than in the legs and outcomes are better in the early stages of lymphedema. While it is not a cure and results vary, many patients report that their arm or leg feels lighter and more comfortable after undergoing the treatment.
For any questions regarding lymphedema surgery, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.