eNews Online - September 1998 Edition

eNews Online
September 1998 Edition

This Lymphedema eNews is being generated through your request from our website.

Welcome to our first edition of Lymphedema e-news. The goal of this newsletter is to develop an interactive forum for patients, therapists and providers. We hope to bring you interesting, relevant and timely information on lymphedema and related topics such as breast cancer. We are excited to be able to make this forum available and hope you find this information helpful and interesting. You are welcome to email your questions, comments and insights to: info@reidsleeve.com

Sentinel Node Biopsy
Tony Reid, MD, Ph.D.

In our first edition, I would like to address an issue that many of you may have heard about, the sentinel node biopsy. This technique has the potential of reducing the risk of lymphedema for patients who must undergo axillary dissection. The sentinel node biopsy is an attempt to reduce the extent of axillary dissection required to determine if there is cancer in the nodes. Instead of removing 5-10 nodes, the sentinel node biopsy removes the one node likely to have cancer cells. To do this, a new technique has been developed that uses a combination of a radioactive tracer and a color dye. The specific node most likely to be involved with cancer is then identified and removed for microscopic analysis.

The important question for the well being of the cancer patient is whether biopsy of one node is sufficient to insure that no cancer cells are missed. It would be a tragedy to allow women to die needlessly because an inadequate biopsy resulted in ineffective treatment.

A recent study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer meeting suggests that the sentinel node biopsy may be nearly as accurate as an axillary dissection. While the sentinel node biopsy is still a new technique, there is good reason to hope that it will reduce the risk of lymphedema and that few women will suffer from this disorder in the future. For a full discussion of sentinel node biopsy go to the link Dr. Reid's Corner on our page.

Oncology 1998 13:25-34;

Sentinel lymph node mapping in breast cancer.

Cody HS 3rd

Case of the Month

One of the serious complications of lymphedema is recurrent infections of the skin. This condition is known as cellulitis. Uncontrolled, this can result in very serious infections. Evidence suggests that as many as 10% of patients with lymphedema develop cellulitis of the affected limb. In some of these patients, it becomes a recurrent problem.

I first spoke with Adrienne in March of 1998. At this time she was experiencing another infection due to the lymphedema. She was taking a variety of antibiotics and was experiencing a great deal of pain. She was initially apprehensive about using the ReidSleeve because she had not had much success with other treatments. Under the supervision of her physician, we entered into our Case Management Program. We worked with her, encouraged her and monitored her progress. At first, because of the infection and pa in, she was only able to wear the sleeve for short periods of time. At that time, the infections were so extreme that she underwent a consultation with a surgeon to have a catheter put in to administer intravenous antibiotics. However, she continued with the ReidSleeve and wore it as much as her body would allow. Gradually she was able to increase her wearing time, her edema decreased and the infections subsided. Eventually, she could wear the ReidSleeve all night. Since starting treatment, her edema has d ecreased over 50% and she has had no signs of recurrence of cellulitis for 6 months. She looks great, the constant pain is gone, the limitations on her life have been lifted and most important, she feels great.

NLN Conference
AnnDee Hafner, General Manager

An important conference on Lymphedema will be held in San Francisco in September. This is a unique and valuable conference; one that brings together therapists and patients and provides a forum to discuss important issues. This conference will cover topics such as the diagnosis and treatment of lymphedema, insurance issues and patient support groups. We support this conference and feel it will be a valuable experience for all who can attend.

If you are interested in attending, the deadline for registration is September 9th. (Conference is from Sept 17th-20th), please call the National Lymphedema Network for details 415-921-1306.

For those of you who can not attend, we will provide a summary in another newsletter.

Insurance Billing

As you can see, Peninsula Medical, Inc. offers a variety of services. One of those services is Insurance Verification and billing. One of the questions we are asked on a daily basis is whether insurance is covering the ReidSleeve.

The answer is that most insurance companies are covering the ReidSleeve provided you carry a Durable Medical Equipment provision on your policy. They are recognizing the benefits of an effective treatment and providing coverage. If you are considering the ReidSleeve and are interested in having your insurance benefits verified (no obligation) you can contact me directly at; 831-430-0350 or our toll free number; 800-293-3362 and ask for Stacey.