Lymphovenous Anastomosis (LVA)
Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis is one of the newest methods used to treat lymphedema. LVA’s require specialized training as well as special instruments and is now being offered at PRMA! The surgery is used for select patients that have lymphedema related to breast cancer treatment. Lymphedema is a complication that can occur from the treatment of breast cancer.
Patients at highest risk for lymphedema include those that have had lymph nodes removed from the axilla (arm pit) and have had radiation. Symptoms of lymphedema include: heaviness in the arm, swelling in the hand/arm, dull pain in the affected arm/hand, loss of range of motion or dexterity.
Although lymphedema is a complication related to breast cancer surgery, it can present in patients years after their initial surgery. For high risk patients, it is important to be evaluated by a lymphedema therapist early to help prevent lymphedema.
The surgery requires evaluation by one of our specialized reconstructive microsurgeons and a certified lymphedema therapist. Therapy is an integral part of the treatment and our surgeons work closely with the lymphedema therapists to optimize your outcome. Although there is no cure for lymphedema, treatment can significantly improve symptoms and improve quality of life!
LVA surgery is done as an outpatient procedure. Lymphatic channels are connected to nearby veins under a microscope. By altering the route for lymphatic fluid to return to the heart, lymphedema can be improved. Recovery time is 6 weeks of light activities and patients are allowed to resume compression garments 2 weeks after surgery and allowed to resume lymphedema therapy treatment 6 weeks after surgery.
It is important for patients to know not all insurance providers cover this procedure and patients may be responsible for all surgeon, hospital and anesthesia fees. At PRMA, we verify insurance coverage and obtain authorization prior to surgery so patients can be informed of their cost estimates up front. For easy financing options, Care Credit is available.