Lymph nodes are small structures located throughout the body, functioning within the body’s immune system. They are also closely connected to lymphatic vessels that drain excess fluid, otherwise known as lymph, from the tissues. Removing or radiating the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels can result in a blockage of the normal drainage pattern. Over time, this backflow of lymph fluid may develop into lymphedema.
Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer transfer is a procedure where lymph nodes are physically moved from one part of the body to the limb affected with lymphedema. Once the lymph nodes are transferred, the blood vessels that supply them are reattached to blood vessels in their new location. This keeps the lymph nodes alive and allows them to reintegrate into the body to aid in restoring a properly functioning lymphatic system. This may help to drain excess fluid from the limb.