'I was able to put my wedding ring on': New surgery reduces breast cancer survivor's arm lymphedema

Published September 16, 2021


In this video, breast cancer survivor Pam Schaffart shares how she can finally wear her wedding ring after over a decade of suffering extreme swelling caused by lymphedema. When there’s a problem with your lymphatic system, it can sometimes result in a backup of fluid that causes swelling. This is called lymphedema. In Pam's case, the lymphedema happened after she had some of her lymph nodes removed as part of her breast cancer treatment.

During a surgery called lymphovenous bypass, plastic surgeon Sean Figy, MD, was able to use some of Pam's tissue, along with its blood vessels and nerves, to reconstruct her lymphatic channels. This procedure can prevent or alleviate lymphedema. Dr. Figy specializes in reconstructive microsurgery and complex reconstruction cases like Pam's, and because of this expertise, was able to help her get her life back.

Nebraska Medicine is the only health system in our region that performs this procedure.