What dr deals with lymph nodes

The hard knot you feel is a lymph node (also called a gland) that has become swollen. Swollen lymph nodes (or glands) may need to be treated by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. Your ENT doctor not only treats your ears, nose and throat; they treat your lymphatic system too.
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But if some lymph nodes are removed or damaged as part of a cancer treatment, you may develop a condition known as lymphedema. The condition may cause swelling in one or both of your arms or legs due to a blockage in the lymphatic system caused by the missing or nonfunctioning lymph nodes. While having the affected area massaged and excess fluid drained can help some patients, others may need surgical treatment for long-term relief. One surgical option for mild to moderate lymphedema is a lymph node transfer. At MedStar Health, we offer lymph node transfer using microsurgical techniques to help treat your lymphedema.

There are many options available to patients for treating breast cancer.

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Unfortunately, a significant portion of patients will face the complication of lymphedema after their treatment. About 20 percent of patients diagnosed with breast cancer will develop lymphedema. The most common way to diagnose lymphedema is with a bioimpedance analysis, which measures electrical flow through body tissue.

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Once it is confirmed that the lymphatic channel is blocked, a team of doctors will determine the best treatment. In the meantime, they will try to reduce the swelling, often by wrapping the affected limb with a sleeve to offer you some relief. On the day of surgery, your surgeon will use microsurgical techniques to move a lymph node and blood vessels from a donor site and transplant it to the recipient site.

While the length of the procedure varies, it can take from four to eight hours. You may be hospitalized for one to three days after your procedure. Recuperation after returning home ranges from four to six weeks. Your mobility and lymphedema symptoms may take longer to recover, with some patients improving within weeks and others within months. Our team will work closely with you to help you reach the best results possible.

Some women who have surgery as a treatment for breast cancer develop a painful condition called lymphedema. Plastic Surgeon David H. Song is now performing lymph node transfer as a way to ease the symptoms and reduce the incidence of lymphedema. Meet Susan Wolfe-Tank whose life was changed for the better after Dr. Song performed her lymph node transfer. Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications.

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If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and avoid possible complications. For more information visit Patient Resources or Preparing for Surgery. Your doctor may recommend a physical therapy program to help you get the best results from your surgery. This may be what your doctor was referring to.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Less common causes of enlarged lymph nodes include infections such as cat scratch disease, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. Certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are also associated with enlarged nodes. Finally, cancer and HIV infection are rare causes. In one report, the chance of a patient having a diagnosis of cancer after showing up to their primary care doctor with an enlarged lymph node was around 1 percent. For enlarged lymph nodes that persist longer than about two weeks , get bigger or happen along with other symptoms such as fever, unexplained weight loss and night sweats, your doctor may order blood tests, X-rays or other studies to try to determine the cause.

A biopsy of the node may be needed if a cause is not found.

Swollen Lymph Nodes Pain in Neck, Groin, Ear, Armpit, Causes & Signs

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Less is More For Lymph Node Removal

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