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Lymphedema Treatment

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Patient Testimonials

“Lymphedema, the worst side effect I’ve had, has been virtually eliminated thanks to these forward-thinking doctors.”
– Shelli Cody

Lymphedema Fact Sheet


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St. Charles Surgical Hospital

The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is a leader in lymphedema care. State of the art preventive protocols, full time therapists, and innovative treatment options ensure your risk of lymphedema is minimized and provide solutions for improvement when present.

Immediate Breast Reconstruction
May Slash Lymphedema Risk

More than half of all women who have breast cancer surgery will develop lymphedema within 2 years, but a new study shows that free-flap breast reconstruction immediately following mastectomy reduces lymphedema risk by 54% compared with surgery without reconstruction. Read More

Lymphedema is a debilitating condition of localized fluid retention caused by a compromised lymphatic system. It is most frequently seen after breast cancer treatments such as lymph node dissection, surgery and/or radiation therapy, which can damage the lymphatic system of the arm. Chronic swelling, discomfort, and skin infections are among the symptoms that may be improved with proper therapy and in some cases, microsurgical repair as part of your overall lymphedema treatment.

Dr. Scott Sullivan, Dr. Frank DellaCroce and Dr. Christopher Trahan, international leaders in all breast cancer surgery options, have developed a dedicated and comprehensive lymphedema treatment program complete with trained specialists, therapists, and advanced cutting edge techniques. The program located in the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is the first of its kind serving patients from around the world.

Lymphedema treatment has largely been limited to conservative management interventions to include manual lymphatic drainage therapy, compression garments, bandaging, and pneumatic pump devices. The revolutionary Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer (VLNTx) procedure for lymphedema can be performed at the St. Charles Surgical Center when combined with any reconstructive breast surgery or as follow-up treatment to a previous surgery. VLNTx is a microsurgical transplantation procedure where several lymph nodes and their associated perivascular fat, arteries and veins (collectively called a “flap”) are removed from a low-risk location of the body and transplanted to the affected limb.

Lymphedema treatment at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is one of our newest programs, and one that we are proud to add to our regimen of care. We are the first Center of Excellence for Lymphedema Treatment in the world. The efforts of Drs. Sullivan, DellaCroce and Trahan in concert with sophisticated imaging systems, trained care specialists, and therapists, provide patients a welcomed option for lymphedema relief.

The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery was established to serve as a dedicated resource for women seeking the most advanced methods of breast reconstruction utilizing the body’s own tissue. Frank DellaCroce, M.D., FACS, Scott Sullivan, M.D., FACS, Chris Trahan, M.D., FACS and M. Whitten Wise, M.D. are pioneers in the most sophisticated breast surgery techniques that allow for microsurgical fat transplantation to rebuild the breast without sacrifice of important functional core muscles. They are international leaders in breast cancer surgery options, pioneering groundbreaking procedures including nipple sparing mastectomy, the Stacked DIEP, the gluteal hip flap, and the revolutionary BODY LIFT FlapSM. They have performed thousands of breast reconstruction procedures for women facing breast cancer or seeking risk reduction from around the world.


Stacked Flap
Hip Flap
Nipple Sparing
BRCA Reconstruction

“I’m back enjoying
life again”

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