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What is lymphedema surgery?

Breast cancer surgery, tumor removal or radiation can cause damage to the lymphatic system, resulting in blockage and fluid buildup. Lymphedema can cause not only debilitating swelling in the arms, but also painful infections. Wearing compression garments and regular exercise can slow progression, but in some cases surgery may be additionally effective in providing symptom improvement and preventing disease progression.

One type of lymphedema surgery is Lymph Node Transfer, in which lymph nodes taken from the groin, omentum, or near the clavicle can be transferred to the swollen limb where they will aid in draining excess lymph fluids, helping to offset and combat lymphedema. This procedure can sometimes be performed at the time of breast reconstruction.

What is the lymphovenous bypass technique?

During this treatment, a photodynamic camera is used to identify the patient’s lymphatic drainage pattern and locate sites for improvement. Bypasses are then created through small incisions to foster a new, more viable lymph drainage pattern. This type of procedure requires microsurgery with specialized instruments.

What are the advantages of lymphedema surgery?

  • Reduction in chronic pain
  • Minimized risk of infection
  • Decrease in painful swelling

Who is the ideal candidate?

As with most surgeries, the patient must be in good mental and physical health without any major medical issue to contend with that would interfere with recovery. Dr. Zampell will perform a detailed physical analysis to determine the best treatment options for your lymphedema. She will then explain each of these techniques to you in depth, so that you leave your consultation fully informed and empowered, and ready for the next step in your medical journey.

What will my recovery entail?

Your hospital stay will depend on the procedures chosen. Lymphovenous bypass may often be performed in conjunction with lymph node transfer, requiring overnight or up to 48 hours of monitoring. You will be required to continue close follow-up with lymphedema therapists after surgery.

Zampell Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Why choose Dr. Zampell in Beverly Hills for lymphedema surgery?

Dr. Zampell is a skilled, experienced and compassionate female plastic surgeon serving Beverly Hills and beyond. She focuses on innovative reconstructive breast techniques and microsurgery, delivering nuanced results that are beautifully tailored to your unique wishes and concerns.

After graduating from Ohio State University’s medical program with honors, Dr. Zampell continued her training at New York University’s Institute for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, followed by a 3-year research fellowship in lymphedema pathophysiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Additionally, Dr. Zampell pursued an elite microsurgery fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles.

At the Ochsner Medical Center’s Center for Breast Reconstruction, Dr. Zampell served as the director for the Oschner-LSU microsurgery fellowship and further honed her expertise under the guidance of industry pioneer Dr. Robert Allen, creator of many of the most popular and successful autologous flap procedures performed around the world today.

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