Lymphedema Post Plastic Surgery
Lymphedema treatment needs to be customized to each patient depending on their particular symptoms and stage of the disease. Non-surgical treatments are used to the maximum extent in the initial phase of treatment.
Complete Decongestive Therapy which combines therapy with lifestyle modifications is the most preferred technique for initial lymphedema treatment. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie provides lymphedema treatment to patients in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and surrounding locations.
Who is a Candidate for Lymphedema Surgery?
People with the following characteristics are considered likely candidates for lymphedema surgery:
- A positive outlook and ability to set realistic goals for restoration of the extremities
- The absence of other medical conditions and illnesses that can slow down or prevent healing
- An ability to cope sufficiently with the surgery
- An inability to benefit further from any of the non-surgical techniques for treatment of lymphedema
What to Expect in the Initial Consultation?
When you first consult the plastic surgeon for lymphedema surgery, they will explain the different techniques available to you. They will examine your skin quality, and measure the circumference of your limbs, and also take photographs with your consent.
Based on the medical opinion formed after a thorough examination, the plastic surgeon will recommend the surgical technique that they believe can give you the best outcomes. The surgeon will also discuss about the realistic goals you must set for the surgery, and give information about any complications or risks that they foresee in dealing with your surgery.
Surgical Techniques are Used in Lymphedema Treatment
Cosmetic surgeons may choose from different surgical procedures to deal with lymphedema patients. These include the following:
Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer
This procedure involves the harvesting of donor lymph nodes along with fatty tissue and surrounding blood supply, from the patient’s neck or lower abdomen, and implanting them into the lymphedema-affected areas to promote drainage of lymph. This surgical procedure requires hospitalization for a few days.
This method creates a bypass to redirect the flow of excess lymph into the venous system of the leg or arm. A small surgical incision is first made on the affected area, and the tiny lymph vessels below the skin are identified using a surgical microscope. These lymphatic vessles are then connected to as many of the venules or small veins nearby, to allow the lymph to get shunted through them. This procedure may be carried out on an outpatient basis
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) Massage Treatment Post Surgery
The success of post-surgical advanced manual lymphatic drainage massage lies in its gentleness. Most experts believe that heat and deep massage are counterproductive in a post-surgical setting; thus, it is important that you NOT substitute deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, or other massage technique for this advanced treatment. Your specific treatment plan—including when to begin advanced MLD and how frequently you should receive treatments—will depend on the surgical procedure you had and your unique state of health.
Post-surgical MLD is an advanced technique requiring specialized training, and should only be performed by a licensed massage therapist. If you have had—or if you are planning to have—a mastectomy or a cosmetic procedure such as a facelift or liposuction.
These involve removal of excess soft tissue and skin to reduce bulk and promote hygiene. More than one surgery may be required, and the procedure is generally used only for patients who are in the advanced stage of lymphedema with fatty infiltration and significant level of fibrosis.
Liposuction has also been used in patients with excess fat, who are not suited to other surgical methods. But they will have to use compression garments lifelong if the benefits of liposuction have to last. Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie receives patients from Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and nearby areas for lymphedema treatment.
Contact Beverly Hills Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie to Schedule a Consultation
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