ZION, Ill., Nov. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) has expanded their comprehensive lymphedema treatment program to offer two innovative surgical options for patients suffering from lymphedema. Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer and Lymphaticovenular Bypass surgery are emerging microsurgical procedures that aim to permanently relieve symptoms of lymphedema in patients who have not benefited from physical therapy. This can be good news for the estimated 30 percent of cancer patients who suffer from lymphedema, a troublesome side effect that can occur following surgical removal of the lymph nodes or radiation to the area as part of cancer treatment. CTCA® at Midwestern is among the first hospitals in the Chicago area to offer these surgical procedures.
"Lymphedema is a common condition that can result as a side effect of cancer treatment, and one that can pose a significant threat to a patient's quality of life," said Daniel Liu, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at CTCA at Midwestern. "Advancements in microsurgery have expanded treatment options for patients who do not respond to physical therapy alone. These innovative procedures hold great promise."
Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid just beneath the skin, usually occurring in the extremities. Swelling can become so severe that it limits mobility or results in pain. Hardening of the skin can also occur. The first defense against lymphedema is prevention. At CTCA, patients who are at risk for damaged lymph nodes following cancer treatment undergo physical therapy and early education to reduce their chance of developing the condition. Patients are also fitted for compression sleeves to wear on their extremities post-surgery, which encourages the proper drainage of lymphatic fluid. If lymphedema develops, doctors can also manually drain the fluid or use commercial lymphatic pumps to treat the condition.
"We explore non-surgical options first so we can limit stress on the body following an already rigorous cancer treatment regimen," said Liu. "Patients who do not realize the benefits of physical therapy after a period of six to twelve months may be candidates for surgery."
New microsurgery options offered at CTCA at Midwestern, Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer and Lymphaticovenular Bypass, are available to patients who fail to benefit from physical therapy. Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer may benefit patients who have advanced lymphedema affecting their skin tissue, and consists of a three to four hour surgery where expendable lymph nodes are transferred from another part of the body, typically the upper groin or lower abdomen, to the damaged site. Plastic surgeons then divide the existing blood vessels that supply the nodes and connect them at the site where the lymph nodes are needed. Surgeons use reverse lymphatic mapping to avoid causing lymphedema in the area where lymph nodes were harvested.
Lymphaticovenular Bypass is performed by shunting fluid from several dilated lymphatics in the affected limb to adjacent venules (tiny veins). The procedure is ideal for patients experiencing mild lymphedema as well as those who have already had autologous breast reconstruction. The procedure, sometimes described as supermicrosurgery, is intricate and highly advanced. Both procedures are still emerging and are not yet widely available.
"Microsurgery is intricate and requires highly specialized training and experience. We are proud to have Dr. Daniel Liu at the helm of our Lymphedema Program so we can offer leading-edge treatments to our patients," said Scott Jones, president and CEO of CTCA at Midwestern.
"Cancer treatment does not end once a patient is physically free of cancer cells in their body," said Liu. "It is our job to provide treatment options that reduce side effects and symptoms, and contribute to a patient's full recovery. I am proud to offer our patients these new surgical options for lymphedema."
To learn more about the treatment options available for Lymphedema at CTCA at Midwestern, visit www.cancercenter.com.
About Cancer Treatment Centers of America®
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc. (CTCA) is a national network of five hospitals that specialize in the treatment of patients fighting complex or advanced-stage cancer. CTCA ® offers an integrative approach to cancer treatment that combines surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy with nutritional counseling, naturopathic medicine, mind-body therapy, and spiritual support to enhance quality of life and minimize side effects during treatment. The company serves patients from all 50 states at hospitals located in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. Known for delivering the Mother Standard® of care and Patient Empowerment Medicine®, CTCA provides patients with comprehensive information about their treatment options so they can participate in their treatment decisions. For more information about CTCA, go to www.cancercenter.com.
About Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center
Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center is a 73 bed specialty hospital dedicated to treating patients battling complex cancer. CTCA® at Midwestern is nationally recognized for providing innovative and individualized cancer care and has been designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) a Magnet Recognized® program, ranking the hospital as one of the top seven percent in the nation for nursing excellence. CTCA at Midwestern has been designated by the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers Program (NQMBC®) as a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence™, ranking the hospital among the top centers in the country for quality breast cancer care. CTCA at Midwestern is the only Certified Breast Center of Excellence in Illinois, and one of only 41 nationally. As a member of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) the hospital also offers a Stem Cell Transplant and Cell Therapy program that provides a full spectrum of transplantation services and advanced treatment options for hematologic cancers. CTCA is recognized by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for demonstrating compliance with the FACT-JACIE International Standards for Cellular Therapy Product Collection, Processing and Administration. CTCA at Midwestern is also recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), for meeting the highest standards for quality cancer care. CTCA at Midwestern is proud to use the latest technology to offer advanced treatment for cancer and is currently one of only a few hospitals in the nation to combine recent advances in brain mapping and navigation to perform minimally invasive brain surgery on hard to reach brain tumors.
SOURCE Cancer Treatment Centers of America