Lymphedema and LVA Surgery that Is Bringing New Hope

Lymphedema and LVA Surgery that Is Bringing New Hope
Rachel AndrewsThis is the second guest column by Rachel Andrews of Gloucestershire, U.K., a Breast Cancer News reader who developed severe lymphedema as a result of her cancer and underwent a microsurgery procedure intended to correct that condition. Rachel described the procedure, called LVA, in her May column and now returns for a one-month update, informing readers about the procedure and how recovery is going for her. On May 30, I chose to have LVA (lymphatico-venular anastomosis) surgery in an attempt to treat the lymphedema that developed in my left hand and arm as a result of breast cancer. Here is an update on how the surgery went for me, and my hopes for how recovery will continue to go. The procedure was to be undertaken using local anesthetic, so I was able to have my breakfast. I walked to the anesthetic room and was greeted by two surgeons. The plan was for the two surgeons to work alongside each other throughout the surgery. It was anticipated to last between four and six hours, so I was offered a urinary catheter, which I declined!
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  1. Anne Cantle says:

    That is fantastic, so happy for you! I am considering the same procedure. I had a lymph node transfer with a DIEP reconstruction and before I went home I had noticed a change in my arm. The surgeon was unsure if it would do anything at all. I noticed an immediate change, then had my arm measured, the change was 2.5cm in the upper arm. The forearm has improvement of about 1cm. I have since had my arm mapped (3 months post surgery), and it confirms a superhighway to a node in my armpit which is the transplanted node. The lower arm is struggling though, so I am considering additional surgery as it would be lifechanging. I am surprised that it didn’t require an anaesthetic. Was it expensive? Best wishes for continued improvement x

    • hello

      I read about LVA lymphodemia treatment. had masectomy 3 yrs ago , about 2 yrs later, developed Lympho in arm/hand. I have not heard about this LVA treatment. can anyone advise approx cost of this – is it only carried out at a Oxfordshire, hospital ? can the consultant tell you if this treatment is advisable before you proceed ? presumbly, this is not carried out under NHS treatment. I wish I’d been given more info re Lympho – never heard of it until I got it !!!

      sorry – so many questions. be grateful for help.

  2. Lori says:

    As an Occupational Therapist Who not only treats lymphedema, but is going through breast cancer myself, I find this news to be very exciting and uplifting! Please keep us posted on your progress !!!

    • Tim Bossie says:

      We are sorry to hear about your diagnosis with breast cancer, but are glad that you found some encouragement through our post. We will definitely be keeping people updated as the newest research becomes available.

  3. julie says:

    Hello, I have booked a consultation to see if I’m suitable for LVA, I feel if I am then I will need to have a general anesthetic as I am such a mardy. I’m worried about the procedure, but also excited if it will work, its my leg that is swollen after only 1 lymph node removed (sentinel) its only 1 inche bigger than my other leg from the knee down and in places only 1/2 inch, but I love to do amateur dramatics and also feel it may get worse as I get older, plus I don’t like wearing the support stocking in the summer, although I put it on as soon as I wake until I go to bed, any feed back would be appreciated many thanks

    • Susan says:

      Hello Julie, i am writing to ask if you went ahead with the LVA procedure on your leg? I have lymphoedema in my left leg and it’s about an inch bigger all over. Like you i hate wearing the stocking and do think it’ll get worse as i get older (I’m 47), so i am looking at funding the LVA operation. I’ve had it for about 2 years (since my cancer surgery). I’d really appreciate some feedback if you can help?

  4. Jill Harrison says:

    This is fantastic. Please update us on your progress. I had this surgery under anesthesia (7.5 hours) in February. Dye was injected between my knuckles but diffused at my wrist, so they only did connections in my hand. I am very impressed that your surgeons went in and found the vessels for connection without the mapping. Unfortunately, my situation has not improved and I’m researching next steps.

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