Lymphedema Post Plastic Surgery
Lymphedema is the condition in which the functioning of the lymphatic system is impaired. This can be critical because the lymphatic system plays a vital role in our body’s immune system and protects us from foreign substances. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bryson Richards provides lymphedema post plastic surgery treatment to patients in Las Vegas, NV, and surrounding locations.
How is Lymphedema Diagnosed?
Persons who have recently undergone cancer surgery that involves the lymph nodes or those who have had plastic surgery are likely to show signs and symptoms of lymphedema.
In patients who do not show obvious symptoms of the condition, the surgeon may require imaging tests to check the condition of the lymphatic system. The common tests include:
- MRI Scan which uses radio waves in a magnetic field to produce high-resolution, 3-D images of the system
- CT Scan in which x-rays show cross-sections of the body structures to reveal blocks in the flow of lymph
- Doppler Ultrasound which uses high frequency sound waves to bounce off the red blood cells and give a picture of blood pressure and flow
- Lymphoscintigraphy in which radioactive dye is injected and scanned using a machine to image the lymphatic system and find blocks in the flow of lymph.
Lymphedema Treatment Methods
Lymphedema treatment is done at different levels, based on the degree to which a patient is affected by the condition. Some of the early-stage treatments include:
Patients are encouraged to perform light exercises to move the affected limbs to improve the drainage of lymph fluid.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) Massage Treatment Post Surgery
The success of post-surgical advanced manual lymphatic drainage massage lies in its gentleness. Most experts believe that heat and deep massage are counterproductive in a post-surgical setting; thus, it is important that you NOT substitute deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, or other massage technique for this advanced treatment. Your specific treatment plan—including when to begin advanced MLD and how frequently you should receive treatments—will depend on the surgical procedure you had and your unique state of health.
Post-surgical MLD is an advanced technique requiring specialized training, and should only be performed by a licensed massage therapist. If you have had—or if you are planning to have—a mastectomy or a cosmetic procedure such as a facelift or liposuction.
When exercising, patients have to wear a long sleeve or stocking made of special material that causes compression of the arm or leg. This helps the lymph to flow away from the affected limb.
Here, the patient wears a special sleeve over the affected arm or leg. The sleeve is connected to a pump which periodically inflates the sleeve. By creating external pressure on the limb, this technique helps to move the lymph away from the toes and fingers.
Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)
This is a comprehensive approach in which different therapy techniques are combined with changes in lifestyle for better outcomes.
Surgery for Lymphedema
Different types of surgical procedures are used to treat lymphedema. In Lymphatic Bypass procedure, lymph vessels are reconnected to drain into the venous system. Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer involves harvesting of lymph nodes from one part of the body and surgical implantation into the affected area to rebuild the failed lymphatic system.
After a diagnosis of lymphedema is confirmed, doctors initiate treatment through non-surgical procedures, and advice the patient to adopt good skin care and elevation of the extremities. When such measures fail to control the lymphedema, there is no alternative to surgical treatment. Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Bryson Richards receives patients from Las Vegas, NV, and nearby areas for lymphedema treatment.
Contact Las Vegas Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Richards to Schedule a Consultation
Taking new patients from Las Vegas, Bullhead City, Laughlin, Pahrump, Mesquite NV and surrounding areas.