Lymphoedema is a disease produced by damage to the lymph nodes and the lymphatic system, causing fluid retention in the arms or legs. It may be congenital or the result of treatment of another disease, for example, breast cancer in which the lymph nodes were removed and radiation therapy was carried out.
Until now, the most common treatment has been physiotherapy using compression bandages and exercise, which alleviates discomfort but does not resolve the condition in these patients.
Today, lymph node transfer is a definitive solution to this disease. It involves a very specialized innovative technique in which a small number of healthy lymph nodes are transferred to the affected area to restore lymphatic function in the extremity. This technique is known as autologous lymph node transfer (ALNT).
Anatomical knowledge and microsurgery make it possible to transfer the lymph node along with its artery and vein so that it is properly fed and viable once implanted, and therefore able to begin to fulfil its purpose of draining liquid and other substances just as before lymphadenectomy was performed.
The success rate of this procedure is very high, eliminating pain completely and allowing for total resolution of the condition in most patients.