Reconstruction, Lymphoedema and Lymph Node Surgery

Hi everyone

Ullevål Hospital in Norway has just started carrying out combined reconstructions and lymph node transplants on women who have had mastectomies and sunsequently developed lymphoedema.

I’m posting it here as well as in the Lymphoedema section of this website as I imagine those contemplating reconstruction might wish to be aware that this new surgery is being carried out.

There is not, as far as I know, much in the way of information in English about this yet, but the Norwegian Lymphoedema Patients organisation recently produced a short piece for their newsletter, which I have just had translated.

It reads as follows:

"Great News!
Transplantation of Lymph Nodes

In 2005 we wrote about a doctor transplanting lymph nodes on lymphoedema patients in Paris and Brussels. [NOTE - This would be Dr Corinne Becker - Bahons2]

The first transplantation of lymphnodes was carried out in Oslo on Tuesday 3rd February 2009.10.31

Tone Guettler writes:

It’s always interesting to keep up to date with the latest in our ‘lymphworld’, so we are happy to announce that the Plastic Surgery Unit at Ullevål University Hospital (who have spent the last year working intensely to establish a centre for lymph node transplantation), have started this work.

They have chosen a group of breast cancer operated patients, who in addition to breast reconstruction, willl also receive lymph node transplantation.

They will treat patients, who, in addition to removal of a breast because of cancer, have developed arm lymphoedema after removal of axillary lymph nodes, and for radiotherapy. The aim of this surgery is to get rid of the lymphoedema.

The reason the hospital has chosen this patient group is that it is easy to extend the breast reconstruction by taking lymphnodes from the groin - at the same time as taking a stomach flap to build up the breast.

The hospital doesn’t need to look for patients as there is a 1-2 year waiting list!

After this type of surgery the patient must have immediate treatment from a specialist lymphoedema physiotherapist. Firstly in hospital (5-7 days), then for three months when back at home. This means that lymphoedema treatment must be available and deliverable, both in Ullevål Hospital and where the patient lives.

When it comes to treatment of other lymphoedema patients (arising out of birth defects, uterine surgery, other cancer operations, injury and the like), it’s not possible at the moment. We wish, therefore, that these patients do not contact the hospital.

Dr Haris Mesic, in charge of microsurgery at the Plastic Surgery Unit at Ullevål Hospital, has promised to keep ‘Lymfeposten’ up-to-date on the latest development. We are very pleased about that."

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