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Topic: LYMPHA (Lymphovenous Bypass) Procedure With Mastectomy?

Forum: Lymphedema —

Talk with other about how to lower your risk of lymphedema and how to manage it if you've been diagnosed.

Posted on: May 12, 2021 02:41PM - edited Nov 21, 2021 04:55PM by LW422

LW422 wrote:

Hello all. Today I had a meeting with my surgical oncologist to discuss my upcoming single mastectomy. I was kind of bummed to hear that that many nodes will be removed, and mentioned that I have a fear of lymphedema.

The SO said that a plastic surgeon will be called in to do the mastectomy close, and he also does a microsurgical procedure called a "LYMPHA." (Lymphatic Microsurgical Preventive Healing Approach). The procedure is also known as a lymphovenous bypass which attaches the cut lymphatic channels to tiny veins, allowing the lymphatic fluid to drain. She said this procedure will add about 3 hours to my surgery.

I told her that I am very interested in this procedure, particularly since it is done at the same time as the mastectomy and apparently is successful in reducing the chance of developing lymphedema. Has anyone here had this procedure in conjunction with their mastectomy, and how have you fared with this? Would you do it again? Any complications? Thanks for sharing.
Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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May 27, 2021 03:01PM Linda2119 wrote:

Hi, LW422,

I was not offered this surgery at the time of my axillary dissection, but I have heard from my lymphedema surgeon Dr. Wei Chen out of Cleveland Clinic that this procedure is very effective at preventing lymphedema. I would jump at the change to have this surgery at the time of mastectomy.

Look up Dr. Chen's speeches on youtube - I believe he talks about this.

Hope this helps,

Linda

Dx 10/5/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 15/24 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 10/19/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Faslodex (fulvestrant) Surgery 3/20/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left) Chemotherapy 4/18/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/9/2018 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 10/25/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 12/20/2018 Verzenio
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May 27, 2021 04:14PM LW422 wrote:

Thanks, Linda. I will look for the Youtube videos and I appreciate the info. I'm definitely planning to have this as part of my mastectomy surgery.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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May 28, 2021 10:27AM LivinLife wrote:

Really interesting Linda! I was telling my Cleveland Clinic rheum about my persistent cording a few weeks ago ( and it is also much improved) - he mentioned what I'm assuming is the procedure you mentioned. I thought he lost his mind...LOL good to hear something like this really exists!

with expansive comedo necrosis & weak ER/PR Dx 7/2020, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/31/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Aug 25, 2021 08:28PM LW422 wrote:

I had the lymphovenous bypass in conjunction with a single mastectomy on Monday. The plastic surgeon was able to find and attach FOUR good channels and I'm so psyched about it. I am hopeful that this preventative step will help prevent me from ever developing lymphedema. I understand that this has become a standard at MD Anderson within the past 6 months, so there is no real historical data at this point. I also signed up to participate in a study so they will be following my progress.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Aug 26, 2021 03:22PM LivinLife wrote:

So glad you had such a good experience with that LW! I had never heard of this until nearly a year after my surgery (meaning this past May) and that was from my rheum of all people! This is a great advance!!!

with expansive comedo necrosis & weak ER/PR Dx 7/2020, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/31/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Aug 27, 2021 08:26AM MinusTwo wrote:

LW422 - So glad to hear your surgery is done and you were able to get this new procedure. I've added this thread to my favorites so please do keep us updated.

Hope your recovery is going well (and hope we don't have a hurricane coming in). Since you're ER-, are they still recommending hormonals for the PR+? And will you have to have radiation? I think of you often.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Aug 27, 2021 09:15AM LW422 wrote:

Thanks, Livinlife! At this point I only know that the attachments were a success; there's no way to know the long-term effects yet but I am ever hopeful! I'm just glad they are working on some solutions for lymphedema.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Aug 27, 2021 09:21AM LW422 wrote:

Hey there, -2! I'm feeling every day of my age this week as my surgery took the wind out of my sails. I'm sore and cranky as heck, and these drains are the bane of my existence. My onc still considers me TN so I don't know what the possibilities are for AI except for possibly Xeloda?? (I probably don't know what I'm talking about.) At any rate I have to get through this recovery and on to radiation, so the party is just getting started.

Hope all is well with you, and I'm watching that stupid storm closely. That's all I need right now is to sit in the heat with these drains... OMG.

If this lymphovenous bypass will prevent me from having lymphedema it will all have been worth it!! Take care.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Aug 27, 2021 06:17PM MinusTwo wrote:

LW - fingers crossed.

Yup the drains are a pain. Don't forget, you can roll your upper half in Glad Press N'Seal and take a shower. No water gets in the drain holes or the incisions. Of course it's impossible to do by yourself.... While radiation brought fatigue, it was for me the easiest of all the treatments. It took longer to get there & get changed every day than for the zap.

I'm sorry for Louisiana - but so glad the storm probably isn't planning a Houston stop - at least at this point. I've lived her long enough to know how fast they can change.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Aug 27, 2021 07:45PM LW422 wrote:

-2... Weirdly, I was able to shower after 48 hours with no coverage at all. I was told to let the warm soapy water run over the wound, rinse with warm water, and pat dry with a clean towel. I look forward to my shower each day. I'm very sore today and hoping things will start leveling off soon. Take care.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Nov 21, 2021 01:36PM LW422 wrote:

Just an update to my progress so far. I'm almost three months post-surgery and so far, so good. I saw a PT tech who specializes in breast cancer patients and lymphedema. She took measurements of both my arms and compared them to the pre-surgical measurements. Happy to report that I have no signs of lymphedema even though I had 2 levels of nodes removed (32!!).

The PT tech told me that most of her patients in the past year have had the LYMPHA (lymphovenous bypass) procedure and she knows of only one who has mild lymphedema. I am encouraged by this but I understand that I am never "out of the woods" where LE is concerned.

I have been stretching and exercising religiously, and have added a gentle rebounding routine on my mini-trampoline.

Hoping that others who have had the bypass procedure will stop by to add their experience to this thread.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Nov 21, 2021 03:40PM MinusTwo wrote:

LW - great news. I too would like to hear from others who had the procedure.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014

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