New Treatment May Help Some Cancer Survivors

February 6, 2013

6ABCreports that Penn Medicine plastic surgeons have an effective new procedure to treat a condition called lymphedema. Jeannette Aspden's right arm is a constant reminder of her battle with breast cancer four years ago. "When [lymph nodes are] disrupted, fluid builds up in the arm or the leg or wherever the lymph nodes were removed from," said Suhail Kanchwala, MD, assistant professor in Plastic Surgery. Kanchwala decided to bring a procedure developed in France to Philadelphia. It's a transplant, moving lymph nodes from an unaffected area of the body to the area where the lymph nodes were removed. In Jeannette's case surgeons transplanted lymph nodes from her abdomen up to her underarm. "Taking them from just underneath the skin and putting them in another area just underneath the skin," Kanchwala said. Most patients will get fewer infections and more mobility. "This is treating patients' quality of life," Kanchwala said.

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