Lymphocele refers to the abnormal collection of the lymphatic fluid at some body sites. The lymphatic fluid gets collected in form of an abnormal sac with no epithelial membrane as in case of cysts. The size and site may vary.
A Lymphocele is thought to be the consequence of excessive damage to the lymphatic system, most probably following complex surgeries or traumatic accidents. At these times, due to damage to lymphatic system, lymph leaks (without getting adequately reabsorbed during healing) leading to formation of lymphocele. Some major causes of lymphocele are:
Major Causes Of Lymphocele
A renal or kidney transplant is quite a major surgery which requires extensive pre and post operation care. Post operation, a lymphocele may develop due to leakage of lymph, hence it is important to deal with it on an emergency basis.
Renal transplant, as said, is a major surgery where one cannot afford to take a risk of leaving a lymphocele at site, as this tends to increase the probability of organ rejection. It can even hamper the functioning of the new transplanted kidney.
Infections Or Collection Of Blood
In some cases, complications that occur, other than the formation of a Lymphocele, like some infections at injury site and even collection of blood at a site could also lead to the development of a Lymphocele as a secondary effect. It is also possible to develop a lymphocele when the initial swelling suffered from a blow or a fall does not subside fully. The serous or lyphatic fluid hence release causes a lymphocele, which may get gradually absorbed over time or may also require immediate attention.
The surgery done for treatment of breast cancer may lead to a far bigger lymphocele caused by serous fluid leaking at the site after operation. Lymphocele is also believed to be caused by a relatively new type of partial-breast radiation therapy.
Breast cancer surgery requires Axillary lymphadenectomy to be performed which causes morbidity and lymphoceles. Prevention of lymphoceles during breast surgery requires meticulous and tedious lymphostasis and reduction of the surgical detachment spaces.
Lymphadenectomy is lymph node dissection that involves the surgical removal of one or more groups of lymph nodes. In most cases, some of the lymph nodes in the area affected by tumor are removed. Certain surgeries like pelvic and aortic lymphadenectomy also leads to common postoperative complications like lymphocele, accounting for more than around 50% of all iatrogenic injuries A lymphocele developing after a blunt injury to thigh is a rare case and may occur either after a pelvic surgery or in advent of crushing injury of pelvic region.
It is commonly observed that a lymphocele often develops after a radical hysterectomy. A radical hysterectomy is performed after a patient is diagnosed with aggressive uterine cancer; hence it requires the entire uterus to be removed. In fact, most often, preventive measures, like placing a drain, are taken by doctors and surgeons so as to decrease the probability of any such complications.
The lymph inside the lymphocele may be gradually absorbed by our body with time, or may even need immediate medical treatment, depending upon its size. If lymphocele symptoms show up and are discomforting, then it is best to deal with this condition on an emergency basis. On a preventive measure, leaving drains for lymph collection post surgery is beneficial.
Photo Credit: http://www.ruh.nhs.uk/patients/Urology/treatments/prostatectomy/index.asp
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