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Free Lymph Node Transfer in Perth & Bunbury

Free Lymph Node Transfer

What is a Free Lymph Node Transfer?

A free lymph node transfer involves harvesting a small number of lymph nodes from the patient's neck or lower abdomen and microsurgically reconnecting them to lymphatic vessels in the affected area.


This procedure aims to alleviate lymphedema symptoms by restoring lymphatic drainage in areas where lymph nodes have been surgically removed.

Who is Suitable for a Free Lymph Node Transfer?

This surgery is suitable for patients experiencing lymphedema in their arm or leg due to previous lymph node dissection surgery. It is a specialized procedure, requiring precision to work with the very small lymphatic vessels.

What Can I Expect with a Free Lymph Node Transfer Surgery?

A Quick Overview

Surgery time: 4 - 5 hours 

Length of stay in hospital: 2-4 nights

Recovery time: The following are approximate times.

No lifting arm above 90 degrees for 4 weeks.

Driving 4 weeks, office work 3 - 4 weeks and

strenuous work/ exercise 6 weeks if the movement will affect this area of the body during healing.

Incision and scar: Incision in the crease of the neck or lower abdomen approximately 5 cm and incision into the affected area (axilla or groin) approximately 5 cm.

Things I need to know about Free Lymph Node Transfer Surgery.

  • Seroma formation is a common occurrence post lymph node surgery, though this is usually conservatively managed and resolved within 3-5 weeks post surgery if it does occur.

  • You will need to see your lymphedema therapist pre surgery and regularly post surgery, for measurements, assessment and treatment.

  • You will need to wear a compression garment for the first 4-6 weeks post surgery. 

  • This surgery is not curative and the aim of this surgery is to assist in reducing lymphedema symptoms. No guarantee can be provided that the surgery will be successful for every patient.  

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