Lymphedema Topic Guide
Lymphedema: Lymphedema is the swelling of one or more of the legs and arms caused by poor function of the lymphatic system. There are two classifications of lymphedema, primary and secondary. The most common cause of secondary lymphedema in the US is breast cancer treatment complications as well as other surgeries. Filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema worldwide. There is no cure for lymphedema (with the exception of antibiotics for filariasis). Focus is geared toward the management of symptoms.
Mastectomy A mastectomy is a procedure to remove a woman's entire breast -- and sometimes underlying muscle and lymph node tissure -- in the hopes of eradicating breast cancers. There are different types of mastectomies, including types that preserve nipple tissue in the interest of breast reconstruction and prophylactic mastectomies that are performed before any cancer is dectected. Plastic surgeons can aid in breast reconstruction if a woman chooses to undergo the additional procedures.
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