Lymphedema Post Plastic Surgery
Lymphedema is a condition in which the drainage of lymphatic fluid from a particular part of the body is affected. As a result, the patient experiences swelling of the legs or arms or both. Primary lymphedema is caused due to a genetic defect, but the more common secondary lymphedema occurs following some infections, trauma or treatment of cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthias Solomon provides lymphedema post plastic surgery diagnosis and treatments to patients in Dallas, Frisco, Sherman, Texas, and surrounding locations.
Who is at Risk for Lymphedema?
Lymphedema has been found to commonly affect survivors of gynecologic, urologic, breast and skin cancers including melanomas. Persons who have undergone some plastic surgery may also develop this condition if the surgery has caused damage to the lymphatic vessels in the operated area.
What are the Symptoms of Lymphedema?
Lymphedema symptoms may occur soon after a surgery or show up after several weeks, months or years, too. Most patients show the following symptoms which get worse with time:
- Pain and tenderness in the arms or legs
- Swelling of the extremities due to lymphatic fluid accumulation
- Skin changes leading to skin fibrosis
- Deposition of fat in the affected limb
- Occasional redness of the affected area, called cellulitis
How is Lymphedema Treated?
There is no cure for lymphedema, but it can be kept under control if managed well. Doctors first use non-surgical treatments to deal with the symptoms. These include:
- Skin care
- Elevation of the extremity
- Use of elastic stockings
- Pneumatic compression devices
- Physical therapy
Most patients respond well to these treatments but for the effects to last, the measures must be followed rigorously, for the entire lifetime. In patients who do not respond to such treatments, doctors may discuss the possibility of lymphedema surgery by one of the following techniques:
- Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer in which lymph nodes harvested from a healthy part of the body are surgically transplanted into the affected limb to repair its lymphatic system.
- Lymphatic Bypass Procedures that connect lymphatic vessels to drain directly into the venous system of the affected limb.
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.
Read more about post surgery massage for MLD.
Who is a Likely Candidate for Lymphedema Surgery?
Patients who show the following characteristics are considered a good candidate for lymphedema surgery:
- A failure of non-surgical methods in providing relief from the symptoms of lymphedema
- An ability to cope positively with the diagnosis and treatment
- Absence of other serious medical conditions or illnesses that may interfere with the healing process after lymphedema surgery.
It’s essential to understand that lymphedema surgery can reduce the severity of the symptoms, but results can vary across patients. The surgery may also leave scars along the incisions made during the surgery. Most importantly, it will be necessary to follow the non-surgical treatments lifelong even following lymphedema surgery to maintain the results obtained from the surgery.
Make sure that you discuss these issues with your surgeon during the initial consultation. Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Matthias Solomon receives patients from Dallas, Frisco, Sherman, Texas, and nearby areas for lymphedema treatments.
Schedule a Consultation with Texas Plastic Surgeon Dr. Solomon
For more information on Plastic Surgery and Non-Surgical Medical Spa Procedures and Treatments in Offices in Dallas, Frisco, Sherman, Texas and surrounding areas please contact the offices of Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Matthias Solomon by clicking here or calling 214-983-0213.
Serving patients in Highland park, University Park, Preston Hollow, McKinney, Prosper, Allen, Southlake, Denton, Irving, Flower mound, Little Elm, Fort Worth, Texas and surrounding areas.