Microsurgery Provides Much-Needed Relief to Teen With Lymphedema

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-35434" src="https://mdthinks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/microsurgery-provides-much-needed-relief-to-teen-with-lymphedema.jpg" alt=" Driven by painful swelling of the ankle for a year, Amanda Garrett finally found answers and a solution to the Mayo Clinic. "Width =" 805 "height =" 453 "/>

Trapped by painful ankle swelling for a year, Amanda Garrett finally found answers and a solution to the Mayo Clinic.

Amanda Garrett's ankle was painful and extremely swollen, and for a year, no one could tell him why. The 18-year-old girl went from one specialist to another to determine what made her swell the left ankle up to 16 inches in diameter. She had six MRIs and went to consult a dozen specialists, including infectious disease physicians, endocrinologists, cardiologists and rheumatologists.

"Some doctors thought I had an autoimmune disease, and others did not know the cause," Amanda says.

The turning point came when Amanda went to Mayo Clinic .

"Several friends told us that Mayo had a wide variety of doctors specializing in rare diseases, so we thought we could find answers there," says Kim Garrett, Amanda's mother.

Much to their relief, they found answers and the solution Amanda needed at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida

.

On May 30, 2017, with a needle finer than a human hair, the plastic surgeon and reconstructor Mayo Clinic Antonio Forte, MD, Ph.D. created new connections between the Lymphatic vessels and veins of Amanda. left leg, allowing excess fluid causing its swelling to drain. It took almost seven hours, but the lymphoid bypass allowed Amanda to walk normally and not to have pain for the first time in almost two years.

A long awaited diagnosis

While she was passing from one doctor to another during her long search for help, Amanda lived in daily discomfort.

"I had the impression of having a very heavy weight on my leg," she says. "I also had a blistering pain, which made me limp a lot."

Then Amanda was referred to Dr. Forte at the Mayo Clinic. He suspected that she had lymphoedema in her leg and ordered a lymphoscintigraphy – a test in which a radioactive dye is injected into the body to see how it moves to through the lymphatic system. The test confirmed that Amanda actually had lymphedema due to a build up of lymphatic fluid in her calf and shin.

"After a few weeks, I could see the improvement: two months later, I could put on my shorts and wear clothes that most teenagers wear." – Amanda Garrett

"Dr. Forte was very competent," says Amanda. "He was the light at the end of the tunnel."

Dr. Forte spoke to Amanda about the possibility of using lymphatic bypass to treat her illness. During this microsurgery procedure, a surgeon re-routes part of the lymphatic system to improve fluid flow and reduce swelling. Because the lymphatic vessels can measure less than one millimeter, the surgeon uses a unique microscope for surgery that provides magnification 15 times higher than normal.

Before going ahead with the surgery, Dr. Forte suggested to Amanda to try a less invasive approach first. She was wearing a compression stocking regularly raising her leg and limiting sodium in her diet to see if these measures would reduce swelling and improve lymphedema.

A great step forward

Unfortunately, after seven months of using nonsurgical therapies, Amanda has seen only a minimal improvement. During a follow-up consultation with Dr. Forte in April 2017, Amanda decided to go ahead with surgery.

"Dr. Forte was informative and honest," says Amanda. "He said surgery could improve the swelling by 30 to 40 percent."

The surgery was scheduled two weeks after Amanda's graduation. Once the procedure was over, his situation began to rise.

"After a few weeks, I could see the improvement: two months later, I could get dressed in my shorts and wear clothes that most teenagers wear." Amanda says. "I like Dr. Forte so much for helping me, it's hard to put into words, now I can be a normal teenager."

"I do not just feel better, I feel better, and that gave me a lot of confidence." – Amanda Garrett

Amanda continues to wear compression stockings five to six days a week to help keep her condition well managed. Four months after undergoing surgery, the results were significant, the swelling of the leg having decreased by 70%. That made a big difference in Amanda's daily life.

"I can see a change in her personality because she has more freedom," says Kim.

Amanda, who is now a major in linguistics and wants to be a government translator someday, looks to her future with enthusiasm.

"It was really exciting for me because I lost 10 pounds after the operation," she says. "I do not just feel better, I feel better, and that has given me a lot of confidence."

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Tags: Dr. Antonio Forte Lymphedema Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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