Lymph node transfer is a procedure in which lymph nodes from one part of the body are removed and placed in the part of the body affected by lymphedema.

What is lymph node transfer?

Lymph node transfer is a relatively new microsurgical procedure used for the treatment of lymphedema. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. The result is swelling that occurs in the affected arm or leg.

Lymph node transfer involves surgically removing lymph nodes from one region of the body to the region affected by lymphedema. The goal of the surgery is to incorporate the new lymph nodes so that they begin to function on their own and drain fluid naturally.

While physical therapy may help many individuals suffering from lymphedema, others continue to experience serious, repeated, lymphedema-related symptoms. Lymph node transfer has offered these patients the hope that they can return to a normal life after cancer treatments are complete.

At Penn Medicine, our surgeons counsel each patient and recommend an approach that is best suited to their needs and wishes.

Learn more about lymphedema and treatment for lymphedema.

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