How special operation fixed Capetonian Simone Blanckenberg's lymphedema
Pippa takes a closer look at lymphedema, a condition in which extra fluid builds up in the body, due to some kind of failure or blockage of the lymphatic system. The symptoms can vary from minor swelling to massive, debilitating engorgement of a limb, usually an arm or leg, she says.
Simone Blanckenberg spent years battling the condition until she found a local doctor, vascular surgeon Dr Laura Redman, who was prepared to tackle a kind of surgery that actually dates back decades, but hasn’t been taught to most medical professionals in this country.
Pippa chats to both Simone Blanckenberg and Dr Laura Redman about their journey in tackling this condition.
Dr Redman explains in laymen's terms just what this is all about. It starts with understanding the lymphatic system which serves to keep our circulation system working.
The lymphatic system drains fluid out of the leg or the arm and deposits it back into the bloodstream.Dr Laura Redman, Vascular Surgeon
The lymphatic system also has a very important immunological function as well.
When the system is disrupted, either through congenital disorders or after a type of cancer surgery, the limb will start to swell with the protein-rich fluid.
Simone experienced the latter cause, after extensive lymph gland removal surgery for cancer as well as weeks of radiation.
They warned me there is this thing called lymphedema, but I was so focused on killing all the cancer I said I don't care, do what you have to do.Simone Blanckenberg
She says not long after the radiation her long started to swell up.
It was a slow build-up of this liquid in my leg because I had had all my lymph glands removed and there was no way for the fluid to move around the body as it would normally do.Simone Blanckenberg
She finally found Dr Redman who agreed to do a debulking operation on her leg.
Listen to the rest of Simone's story and Dr Reman's informative in the audio below:
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