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Topic: Will removing implant help?

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Sep 1, 2006 03:08PM

Peggins wrote:

I have been dx with truncal lymphedema. It took over 6 months of complaining to my ps about pain before I was referred to a pt who specilizes in lymphedema. I have had some relieve with her treatment and am learning how to self treat. I have the belisse bra which I wear almost constantly because I am more comfortable with it than with out. I've been in treatment now for 4 months and while there is improvement I've had several set backs and the pain, while less, is still almost always there. I don't want to live this way. Comfort and maintaining my ability to live the life I want is more important to me than having a breast mound. I thought/hoped I could have it all.
When I see my pt next week I'm going to ask her the question, but was wondering what wisdom or experience there was here.
I'm changing ps, he also gave me an extremely ugly nipple. But it will be awhile before I can get an appointment with another ps, but when I do the question will be posed there as well.
Does anyone have experience or think that by removing my implant I might lessen the pain and swelling from the lymphedema?
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Sep 2, 2006 08:32AM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Peggins,

I'm sorry I don't have any idea about that. It's complicated. If the pain is entirely from LE swelling, then I'd guess the surgery might not help much. On the other hand, if the combination of implant and LE is what's causing the pain, then you might get some relief.

Any surgery is an "insult" to the area, and our lymph system doesn't take such things lightly, so I'd guess you could have at least a temporary increase in LE swelling following surgery. You'd want to see your therapist before and after surgery for thorough massage to help ease that transition. If the surgeon identified scar tissue that he could remove or modify, that might conceivably ease the LE pain as well. As far as the LE simply going away with the expander removed, I think that's not very likely.

I'd guess nobody will be able to tell you exactly what's causing the pain, or make any guarantees about this surgery easing it. If the pain extends to an area not well covered by your Bellisse, then you could add compression with Solaris or Jovi "swell spots" or (for less bulk) a "chocolate bar" compression pad. The "chocolate bars" work really well when my truncal LE acts up, because it's fairly aggressive and can cover exactly where I need it (I use stockinette to cover it so it doesn't irritate my skin).

Chest LE pain is a real...well, PAIN! I needed PT to help me with posture and shoulder movement because I was "guarding" the area (hunching my shoulder forward to protect myself). The PT itself eased some of the discomfort as well.

Please do come back and let us know what you discover. Wishing you speedy relief,
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Sep 2, 2006 02:41PM NPat wrote:

I am not an expert on reconstruction, etc... but I think I would try to aggressively treat the LE without removing the implant. Removal could cause further trauma to the area. I have truncal LE and I remember when the pain was really bad. I couldn't find a decent bra to support my breast and the darn thing was on fire. After my truncal LE was treated and I got the swelling controlled, eventually found the right garment.... things are better. You shouldn't be suffering from pain. There are many non-narcotic pain meds to use during the day if you work and if the pain is really severe, your PCP or surgeon can give you a Rx for a scheduled drug to use when at home. You have to get ahead of the pain. I would medicate yourself on schedule so you are not sooo miserable. I am a fan of Aleve and extra-strength Tylenol. You can alternate them and get some decent pain control. I think that if you were more comfortable, you could deal with this nasty LE a bit better.
Plus, I highly recommend anti-depressants if your mood is in the pits. They are also great tools for pain management. We use them to aid in controling neuropathic pain (migraines, neuropathies) and they do help quite well. I hope you have a provider with which you can discuss pain management issues. Keep us posted.
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Sep 6, 2006 07:30PM sherry7 wrote:

I can't promise anything, but I am in a simular situation, I am having a surgery to secur a tram flap mound that keeps slipping and causing pain and allowing a nerve to be very surface. When counciling with him about the process, he stated that he would not recommend putting in even a small implant with the LE. I also can't wear anything much more than the good ole stuffing or it hurts over the nerve. Its all so confusing to know what is good for us. I wish you the best, I am just sharing my recent story with my own plastic surgeon who has taken pretty good care of me so far and I appreciated his not just wanting the business by putting in an implant, he really put my well being first....again blessing and prayers, luck to us all

let the miracles happen... Dx 9/17/2005, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 10, 2006 02:34PM PuppyFive wrote:

my ps has retired, my implant has shifted to under my arm, lymph aderma, has been my nightmare for a while now!!! my gp, said no need to see a specialist, they cant help. that i need to get the implant out, who should i see about this mess? i have other problems( heart, and tumor on thyroid) that my doctor seems is more important. wish she could feel my pain for one day, maybe she would change her mind!! any advice would be soooooooo helpful. debbyfive
One of these days "I'm gonna Love me" t.m.
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Sep 10, 2006 05:07PM NPat wrote:

Can your onc refer you to a LE therapist? A trained therapist may agree that the implant needs to come out before the LE can be treated. Maybe the lymph fluid is pushing the implant out of place. Cardiac issues do complicate the situation. Treating the LE can increase the stress on the heart because there will be more blood in circulation... but surgery is stressful on the heart also... You need a second opinion from someone. I wish there were an easy answer. Keep us posted.
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Sep 10, 2006 05:16PM PuppyFive wrote:

i go to the heart doctor sept. 18. hope they can jump start my doctors, i can not cope, nor live a normal life with this. thank you sooooooooo much for your concern, i will keep you updated. debbyfive
One of these days "I'm gonna Love me" t.m.

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