Published on July 13, 2017

Lymphedema Education Event At Genesis Medical Center

Plastic surgeon Wei Chen, M.D., one of only a few surgeons in the country performing microsurgery to repair severe cases of lymphedema, will present an education event at Genesis on Thursday, July 27.

Dr. Chen, who practices at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, will discuss surgical options to correct lymphedema starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Adler Health Education Center in the lower level of the Genesis Heart Institute at 1236 East Rusholme Street, Davenport.  The public is invited to this free event.

Breast cancer patients who have lymph nodes removed during surgery are at risk for lymphedema.  This condition is caused by a disruption in the lymphatic system that drains fluid from the arm.  In a systematic review that included 72 studies of nearly 30,000 women, the overall incidence of arm lymphedema in breast cancer survivors was 17 percent. (https://www.uptodate.com/contents/breast-cancer-associated-lymphedema)

The main risk factors for breast cancer associated lymphedema include dissection/disruption of axillary lymph nodes, radiation therapy, local infection, and obesity, but other factors may also contribute. (https://www.uptodate.com/contents/breast-cancer-associated-lymphedema)

“Non-surgical treatments include manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, skin care and exercises to enhance lymphatic pumping,” explained Chris Beuthin, physical therapist and certified lymphedema specialist at Genesis Physical Therapy, Valley Fair, Davenport.  "Quite often, lymphedema can be treated successfully with these methods but if not, the next step is surgical treatment.  Dr. Chen is a national expert in microsurgical treatments for lymphedema.’’

Dr. Chen provides Lymphaticovenular Anatomosis (LVA) and Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer (VLNT) super-microsurgical procedures at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

LVA is a minimally-invasive procedure that connects the lymphatic channels to nearby veins.  The patient may be able to go home the same day as the procedure.

VLNT transfers healthy, functioning lymph nodes from other parts of the body to the affected limb to treat the lymphedema.
For more information about lymphedema and about the upcoming event, go to www.genesishealth.com/lymphedema.
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