Lymphedema surgery is performed after mastectomy or tumor removal to help relieve painful swelling. It cannot cure the condition, but it can help to lessen the symptoms. Lymph node transfer and lymphovenous bypass are treatments that can be combined with other solutions to reduce uncomfortable symptoms and restore quality of life. 

Because lymphedema surgery is a complex, delicate art form, only the most skilled and precision-minded plastic surgeons qualify to perform it. Dr. Schneider at Austin Face & Body is a compassionate, seasoned breast reconstruction surgeon who goes to any lengths necessary to secure a successful outcome for his breast cancer clients.

What is lymphedema surgery?

Radiation, tumor removal, and mastectomy can all result in a compromised lymphatic system, leading to a buildup of fluids that can be painful and distressing. Lymphedema results in dramatic swelling in the arms as well as infections. While compression garments worn after surgery can mitigate some of the swelling, lymphedema surgery is the most effective at reducing the symptoms and slowing down the disease.

What is lymph node transfer?

Lymph node transfer is one type of lymphedema surgery we can perform at Austin Face & Body to relieve discomfort associated with swollen limbs. By using healthy lymph nodes obtained from the groin, beneath the shoulder joint, or near the clavicle, the surgeon can help to drain an area compromised by lymphedema. Microsurgery techniques are employed to ensure the transferred lymph nodes remain connected to their blood vessels. The surgery requires a painstaking approach and can take up to 8 hours per side.

What is the lymphovenous bypass technique?

A small microscope is employed during lymphovenous bypass surgery to assess the patient’s lymphatic drainage system and find areas where it can be improved. Microsurgery is then used with specialized instruments to create bypasses, allowing the lymphatic fluid to flow past blockages. Lymphovenous bypass surgery can bring much-needed relief to the regions heavily affected by lymphedema.

What are the benefits of lymphedema surgery?

  • Helps decrease chronic pain and discomfort
  • Reduces the risk of infection
  • Minimizes swelling in the limbs
  • Increased mobility and range of motion
  • A more aesthetically pleasing appearance
  • Enhanced self-confidence
  • Expanded wardrobe options

Who is a good candidate?

Once non-surgical options have been exhausted for the treatment of lymphedema, surgery becomes necessary and urgent. Ideal candidates are non-smokers of sound mind and body who are free from any serious medical issues that might interfere with their treatment. Dr. Schneider will evaluate each patient and find the best solution to help them regain their quality of life. 

What will my recovery entail?

Recovery will vary from client to client, based on the type of solution recommended by Dr. Schneider. Lymph node transfer is often combined with lymphovenous bypass surgery, which can require the patient to remain under medical care for up to 48 hours. 

After surgery, your incisions will be dressed with gauze, and you will be fitted with drains to help escort excess fluids out of the body. You will receive detailed aftercare instructions along with prescriptions for pain medications and antibiotics. The healing process takes a few weeks, during which time your swelling will gradually subside. You will return for regular follow-up visits with Dr. Schneider to ensure your recovery remains on track.

Austin Face & Body

Why choose Austin Face & Body?

Breast reconstruction clients choose Austin Face & Body for the personalized attention they receive from our experienced, compassionate team. They enjoy naturally stunning results in a state-of-the-art setting equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology. From our knowledgeable, caring staff to the convenience and safety of our accredited facilities, patients quickly come to regard Austin Face & Body as a second home.

Dr. Chris Schneider, a native Texan, is a seasoned plastic and reconstructive surgeon who excels in the complex art of microsurgery, an advanced technique required during many delicate breast reconstruction procedures. Dr. Schneider approaches every surgery with a thoughtful eye for aesthetics as well as a passion for the utmost precision and meticulous detail. He mastered perforator flap surgery during a demanding residency at Louisiana State University, developing an approach that has elevated the lives of women from all over the country and the world.

After graduating from Texas A&M University College of Medicine on a prestigious scholarship, Dr. Schneider completed a general surgery residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He was then selected for an accelerated plastic surgery training program at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, where he trained with among the foremost pioneers in the field of microsurgery. 

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