Summa Health reconstructive plastic surgeons provide highly specialized care for people with lymphatic disorders. The lymphatic system consists of a vast network of lymph vessels that help rid your body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. These vessels filter fluid through the lymph nodes and then distribute the clean fluid – which now contains infection-fighting white blood cells – throughout your body.
When lymph nodes are no longer facilitating the proper drainage of lymph fluid, an abnormal buildup of fluid can cause painful swelling in extremities, usually in your arms and legs. Caused by infection, trauma or, most commonly, treatment of cancer, the condition is known as lymphedema.
Symptoms of lymphedema typically worsen over time. Affecting extremities, they include:
With our innovative and collaborative approach to treatment, Summa Health reconstructive plastic surgeons collaborate with interventional radiologists, anesthesiologists and other specialists in lymphatic disorders. Using advanced imaging and minimally invasive techniques to map out the anatomy and flow of the lymphatic system, we can more accurately identify and manage chronic conditions.
Non-surgical therapy may include extremity elevation, skincare, elastic stockings, physical therapy and pneumatic compression devices. Surgery for lymphedema may be appropriate when nonsurgical therapy is inadequate to control the symptoms. Surgical options include liposuction, lymphovenous bypass, vascularized lymph node transfer surgery utilizing microsurgical techniques and skin grafts. While there is no full recovery for lymphedema, these treatment options significantly lower swelling and discomfort.
Talk to a Summa Health reconstructive specialist about the best options for you based on your personal history and current health.