New Lymph Node Treatment Offers Promise to Breast Cancer Surgical Outcomes

We recently shared a report discussing why many women with early breast cancer do not need a painful procedure that has long been routine: removal of cancerous lymph nodes from the armpit.

However, for women who have experienced the removal of lymph nodes during breast cancer surgery comes news of a new procedure offering relief from lymphedema.

According to this report in the New York Times, surgeons from around the country recently met in New York City to observe an experimental surgery that may cure lymphedema, a serious complication of breast cancer treatment:

This innovative procedure, called an autologous vascularized lymph node transfer, is used to treat lymphedema, a common side effect of breast cancer treatment. Removal of the lymph nodes under the arm closest to the affected breast is believed to stem the spread of cancer, although new research suggests it can be avoided in many cases. But the loss of lymph nodes often leads to chronic swelling and soreness in the arm.

In the new experimental surgery, the missing lymph nodes are replaced with a handful of healthy nodes transplanted from elsewhere in the patient. If all goes according to plan, the lymph nodes make themselves at home in their new location and connect with lymph vessels and start doing their job, filtering waste and draining fluid that has accumulated in the arm.

The procedure was pioneered by Dr. Corinne Becker, a French doctor.

Lymph node transfer is seldom performed in the United States. However, the first randomized clinical trial of its effectiveness is just getting underway, led by Dr. Constance Chen, a New York City plastic surgeon who specializes in muscle-sparing reconstructive breast surgery using the patient’s own tissue.

To learn more click here.

This entry was posted in Breast Cancer Surgery, Lymphedema, Research News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New Lymph Node Treatment Offers Promise to Breast Cancer Surgical Outcomes

  1. Maki says:

    Thx for your post, I really enjoy your blog. Long time lurker, first time commenter, you know the drill. I tried to share this one time before, I don’t think it posted correctly…hopefully it will this time!