Breast cancer procedure that helps patients after complications gains popularity at a Bridgeport medical center

While doctors say there is no cure for lymphedema, there is a preventative procedure and it can be done in conjunction with the other breast cancer procedures.

Angelica Toruno and Nicole Alarcon Soares

Mar 20, 2024, 9:33 PM

Updated 25 days ago

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A new procedure that helps breast cancer patients with complications that arise after treatment is becoming a common standard for a team of surgeons at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.
"Something called a Lymphovenous Bypass (LVB), we have veins in the lymphatics that are usually separate, so we connect those lymphatics to this vein, and that creates a flow for the lymphatics fluids to go through,” said Hartford Healthcare breast surgeon Dr. Valerie Brutus.
While there is no cure for lymphedema, doctors say LVB is a preventative procedure and it can be done in conjunction with the other breast cancer procedures.
“Patients unfortunately are going to be at increased risk for something that is called Lymphedema or swelling of the arm," said Hartford Healthcare breast surgeon Dr. Valerie Brutus.
Kerry-Ann Brainsford, 35, is one of the patients fighting Stage III breast cancer who fell under that risk.
"Yes, very devastating, it was not the best news as you can imagine for someone my age especially," said Brainsford.
Brainsford underwent aggressive breast cancer treatment, including removal of lymph nodes near her armpit.
For her, it was a no-brainer when the option for the LVB treatment was presented to her and the convenience of it being available in the same hospital she was already undergoing all her other treatments.
Brainsford describes the procedure as the easiest part of her treatments so far.
She is nearly two months post-op and more than halfway through her radiation.
As Brainsford continues to be a warrior in this fight, she credits her family, friends, and most of all, her medical team.
Dr. Brutus and her colleague Dr. E. Sterling Craig are among the few surgeons doing the procedure in Fairfield County.


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