What is lymph node transfer?
Lymph node transfer surgery is a relatively new and exciting option for the management of lymphoedema.
If lymph nodes are surgically removed, or irradiated as part of cancer treatment this can result in marked swelling of the upper or lower limb. This occurs most frequently in gynaecological or breast cancer treatment. Until recently there have been no surgical techniques shown to consistently improve lymphatic drainage. It is now possible to transfer spare lymph nodes with their blood supply from the groin area. This can improve or cure the arm or leg lymphoedema.
Are there any risks or side effects involved?
There is minimal risk of swelling to the lower limb where the spare nodes are harvested from.
If the lymph nodes are used in isolation then they are harvested with a supplying artery and vein which is plumbed into vessels in the vicinity where they are being transplanted.
There are minimal side effects from harvesting the nodes and most importantly there is no risk of lower limb lymphoedema. However, all risks and side effects will be discussed with you by your treating consultant prior to the procedure.