I have been asked what Lymph Node Transplant Surgery involves and the criteria needed to be eligible. I hope in this post to be able to answer those questions, however I can only answer from my own experience as every hospital and doctor world wide would be slightly different. If you are interested in these procedure you are best to investigate your own options.
My first appointment was to ascertain if I would be a suitable candidate for Lymph Node Transplant or Liposuction. Measurements of my leg were taken, in comparison with my good leg, also the condition of skin and my own general health both physical and mental. It was decided that my next step would be with the plastic surgeon who performed the transplants. The usual criteria was to have had lymphoedema for less than five years but my leg was not fibrous or much bigger than my good leg (I believe less than 10% bigger) and skin and general health good. Before a decision could be made I had to have a Lymphoscintigram.
A Lymphoscintigram maps the lymphatic system and how well it performs, in my case I was to have both legs mapped. Tiny injections of radioactive material were made between each toe, then for four hours pictures were taken, using a Gamma Camera, as the material passed up my legs. Lymph nodes showed up as large black dots and the lymph vessels as tracers up the legs. This test showed I still had lymphatic activity and nodes in the ankle of my bad left leg but the lymphatics were much slower in this leg than the good one. My left knee showed some lymphatic activity but the left groin had no lymph nodes but in the right leg the groin shows seven lymph nodes. The outcome of this was that there was still enough lymphatic activity in the left leg to allow for a Lymph Node Transplant! WOW!!!
My understanding of the surgery is that I am to have a small area removed from my neck that contains lymph nodes, vein and artery, then using micro surgery this is to be inserted behind my knee to improve the lymphatics in my left leg. If successful it will give me better immunity to infections replacing lost “filtration stations” and could help the lymphoedema but I have no guarantees! Prior to surgery, yesterday, I had an MRI to look at the structures in the leg. The surgery is to take seven hours, I guess after I will know more!
The thought of a cut on my neck scares me but the doctor has said that the neck is a rich source of lymph nodes, so maybe some scarves for a while! This is certainly a time for New Beginnings what ever the outcome.
My juice today carrot, ginger, cauliflower and beetroot.