Apples and Oranges…


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Over the last few weeks I have spoken to doctors and other patients who have had surgical treatments for Lymphoedema, I have come to the conclusion you cannot compare legs and arms!! In much the same way that apples and oranges are both fruits, they are different! Legs and arms are both limbs, but they are different! Legs are bigger, they do more work, gravity does not help and there is a much bigger volume of fluid to clear, the Lymphatic vessels have to grow through a larger space and bring the lymph up into the abdomen when gravity pulls it down to the ankles!!


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Prior to surgery I thought that like the lymph node Transfers to the arm I would start to see results within a few weeks, Sue and Jennifer had thought the same. We were not prepared for the very slow results or the intense Physiotherapy that we would need to see progress. Jennifer is now two years out from the Lymph node Transplant and she has a 20% reduction in the size of her leg. Scans have shown that the transferred lymph nodes are producing Lymphatic vessels so the hope is that these results will continue to improve. Sue is about 6 weeks out from her Lymph node Transfer and she is doing Manual Lymph Drainage three times a week and wearing a Reidboot or Bandages at all times. Me I await a scan on Thursday to see if there are viable Lymph nodes in the transferred tissue. Sue had seen a lady on television who had Lymph nodes transferred to her arm pit and after two weeks her arm was close to the size of her good arm. The reason I started this blog was to build awareness of Lymphoedema and to tell the story of surgical intervention from the side of the patient. Therefore I am  saying that if you have a Lymph node Transfer and/or  Lymphatic venous anastomosis to the leg, be prepared to be very very patient. There is no instant fix but change will happen gradually, the first changes are usually a softening of the leg and a better response to MLD. If you hear that someone has responded to the treatment quickly do not get disheartened as everyone is different. Liposuction to both arms and legs does see instant results but garments must be worn 24/7 as this does not cure the Lymphoedema.

I would really like it if others would allow me to post their experiences of surgery for Lymphoedema or the process of looking into it. I would like to hear about surgery for arms and legs, what led to this decision, have you had Liposuction, Lymph node transfer or Lymphatic venous anastomosis? What is it like to have Lymphoedema both secondary and primary? People sharing their stories leads to a better understanding for others and improves outcomes. I will not use real names so as to respect your privacy. I am happy to edit your post so don’t feel you have to write a perfect item for me even if you give it to me in point form that is ok… Thanks…

Please email Helen at


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I look forward to hearing from you…

6 thoughts on “Apples and Oranges…

  1. Thank you very much…for your blog… I am planning a VLNT to my right arm in Nov. or Dec. of this year…I will be having the procedure in Los Angeles… I will share my story in the spirit of helping others understand the process!
    Love, luck and positive outcomes to all that seek relief from lymphedema! Thanks Helen!

    • Hi Debra.. I look forward to hearing of your VLNT later in the year.. Also would like to here of your journey towards this decision.. I have heard very positive results on the VLNT to the arms as there seems to be a lot more experience with this.. Take care Helen

  2. I’d love to read all about everyone’s experiences Helen, thanks for asking people to share. You’re doing a great job at getting the iformation out there. It’s amazing the difference in recovery between the arm and leg surgery, even factoring in gravity and volume, somehow I guess it’s easy to expect the same results. Hang in there, you are a trailblaizer!

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