About Your Neck Dissection Surgery – Lymphadenectomy

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By Dr. Neeraj Gupta , General Physician

Lymphadenectomy is generally defined as a surgical procedure which involves the removal of the lymph nodes followed by a microscopic inspection of a sample of tissue for possible threats of cancer. It can be further divided into a modified or limited lymphadenectomy in which only some of the lymph nodes are removed, and a total or radical lymphadenectomy in which all of the lymph nodes in the area are totally removed.

Procedure

Lymphadenectomy is an extensive operation and is administered under a general anaesthesia. Although laparoscopic lymphadenectomy is a much lengthier process than open surgery, recovery is much faster with this approach. Initially, a small incision is made in the concerned area after which the lymph nodes are separated and isolated. They are finally removed carefully from the surrounding tissues for inspection.

Why lymphadenectomy

This lengthy operation is generally needed if:

1. The cancer is large
2. Cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes during the time of surgery or after previous surgical operations
3. Cancer cells have developed in the muscle of the cervix, uterus and the surrounding areas of the pelvis
4. Pelvic lymph nodes get enlarged
5. Cancer cells are of a higher grade

Aftercare

1. All cuts must be well cleaned and bandaged
2. Blood draws and blood pressure measurement tests are required immediately after the operation is over
3. You must avoid lifting heavy objects at all times

Risks

1. Lymph edema (Swelling in the arm or leg caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system)
2. Infection
3. Bleeding
4. Lymphocele or the accumulation of lymph fluid in the pelvis