Friday, 22 March 2013

Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis (LVA)

Hi again, sorry it's been so long!

I completely forgot I hadn't told you about my get-together with countrymen suffering from Lymphedema. It went really well. There were six of us and we had a lovely afternoon together. I had met two of the others before, Sophisticated Tina and Miss C. It was good to meet and be with the other three as well. Good to share information, discuss various matters and generally just being with others in the same boat as myself.

One of the others, Mr. O, suffers from secondary Lymphema after melanoma and last year he travelled to Germany to have surgery, a Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis (LVA). Previously he had been doing a great amount of research into Lymphedema surgery and found that this one was the best. The procedure has been a success and he offered us all the information we could take in. We were all very interested.
After that day I have a different perspective of Lymphedema surgery. I used to think that this would not be happening in my time. I knew that there had been trials and that operations had been performed but I thought it was too risky, too expensive and overall lightyears from being an option for ordinary people. I now know that it is not so. Lymphedema surgery has – from what I understand – developed a lot in recent years and is now much more advanced and much safer than only a few years ago. Even a hospital near me is about to start doing it (Herlev Hospital)!

This type of surgery was developed by a Dr. Isao Koshima in Japan. Doctors from all over the world is learning this method now. You can read more about it here.
You can also download some articles I got from Mr. O. here.

The surgery itself takes 4-6 hours and one is discharged after 1-2 days. It all happens in the very surface of the skin with only 2-5 tiny incitions of about 1 cm.
As far as I understand what they do in a LVA is connect lymphatic venules with the veins so the lymph fluid can travel back through the veins.

Mr. O used to wear a grade 3, flatknitted compression stocking (what I wear too) but can now do with a roundknitted grade 1 which is fantastic if you ask me. His stocking is not more than a flightsock, if even that! His leg has gone down in size too.

A couple of days after our get-together Miss C travelled to the same clinic in Germany as Mr. O for a pre-surgery examination to see if she would be a canditate for the operation. It seems she might but the last I heard from her she was waiting for the final test results. Sometimes the lymphatic venules are too damaged or hard to locate for the surgery to be performed. She may have the procedure done as early as June if all goes well. I am so excited for her! I even feel tempted to go and have the examination myself!

The annual patient weekend is coming up next month and I am really looking forward to it. Tina is coming and also a couple of the others. I have signed up for a lymph-yoga class there which I am excited about. You can read about last years patient weekend here if you want.

Have a great weekend!