Surgeons from Heart and Brain and UMBAL Pleven performed an innovative operation for prevention of lymphoedema

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Vascular surgeons at the Heart and Brain Hospital and a team from the Clinic of Oncology Surgery at UMBAL Dr. G. Stranski Pleven performed an innovative operation to prevent lymphoedema in a patient with breast cancer. One of the common consequence of treatment in patients with breast cancer is lymphoedema of the hand, which is lymphatic edema of the limb. According to literature data, after lymph node dissection and subsequent radiation and chemotherapy, the incidence of lymphoedema reaches over 50% of cases.

Lymphoedema can sometimes lead to a significant deterioration in the quality of life in these patients, making treatment extremely difficult and complex. An innovative operation, representing an anastomosis (connection) between a lymphatic vessel from the arm and a branch of the axillary vein, is being implemented recently worldwide, with initial results in the literature indicating that such surgery reduces the incidence of lymphedema below 5%.

The operation has its own particularities. At the beginning of the procedure, a dye is injected into the subcutis of the arm, staining the lymphatic vessels of the upper limb. After removal of the lymph nodes from the axilla, using a biomicroscope, they connect to the venous vessels of the axillary vein. The whole procedure costs extra operative time but does not carry any risk of complications for the patient. The operation was successfully completed for the first time in Pleven. The patient was hospitalized with no postoperative complications and there is currently no evidence of lymphedema.

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