Vascularised lymph node surgery shown to cut cancer treatment related lymphoedema swelling by almost half
The Royal Marsden is pioneering a new surgical technique called lymphaticovenous anastomosis (LVA), with the world’s first randomised control trial on this procedure. LVA aims to relieve swelling from lymphoedema in breast cancer patients and surgeons at The Royal Marsden believe this technique has the potential to become the standard of care for breast cancer patients with cancer-related lymphoedema.
Mr Kelvin Ramsey, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Clinical Lead in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust was joint senior author on this study. He said:
“There have been hundreds of studies published on lymph node transfer to date, but our review is the first to quantify the potential therapeutic benefit of VLNT in reducing both limb volumes and the risk of infection in patients with lymphoedema after cancer treatment. The Royal Marsden is a leader in complex microsurgery and our teams are already conducting a number of lymphoedema trials.”
Mr Aadil Khan, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and joint senior author for the study said:
“We are encouraged by the findings of our meta-analysis and are currently developing a randomised clinical trial to formally evaluate the benefit this technique might bring to patients with lymphoedema. We are very keen to work with lymphoedema patients in developing the trial, to ensure it captures meaningful outcomes for them and improves their quality of life. To get their input, we will be hosting a series of digital patient engagement events over the next couple of months. At The Royal Marsden, we’re always looking to improve the lives of patients with cancer, and having patient input into the design of any research trial is critical to it’s success.”
Specialist surgical equipment at The Royal Marsden, including surgical microscopes which are used to carry out complex microsurgery and advanced surgical techniques such as lymphaticovenous anastomosis (LVA), is supported by funding from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.