Lymphedema is a side effect of breast cancer itself or its treatment. It is associated with a chronic swelling and pain of the arm.
When does lymphedema develops?
The breast cancer can lead to changes of the lymphatic changes in the armpit leading the the development of lemphedema. Diagnostic surgery to the lymphnode (Sentinel Lymphnode removal) and complete removal of lymphatic nodes in the armit can cause the lymedema. Furthermore Radiothearpy can also lead to lympedema.
Can lymphedema be treated?
Lymphedema cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be improved. In most situation conservative management by elastic sleeves, bandages and massages are very successful. In recent year surgical options have been evaluated and the eraly results are very promissing. The surgical options does include bypass surgery of lymphatic vessels and as well lymphnode transfer to the armpit.
Does breast reconstruction has an effect on lymphedema?
There is no evidence that breast reconstruction could cause lymphedema. But it has been shown that own tissue reconstruction can improve lymphedema.