As Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins, we are proud to announce investment in a new game-changing surgical program for breast cancer surgery patients.

The new Microsurgical Lymphatic Reconstruction Program at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre will enable lead microsurgeons Dr. Imran Ratanshi and Dr. Jennifer Prince to conduct two life-changing microsurgeries, which are crucial for those at high risk of developing lymphedema: Lymphatic to Vein Bypass and BC’s first Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer.

Lymphedema is a condition that develops when there is a blockage in lymphatic channels leading to an interruption of lymph flow and results in fluid retention and swelling. Where the number one reason for lymphedema worldwide is infection, in Canada and developed countries, the main reasons are cancer and injury. More specifically, in Fraser Health, the main reason comes from cancer (breast, melanoma, head and neck, pelvic, sarcomas) and traumatic injury.

“Surrey will be well-positioned to offer immediate and early reconstruction for patients at uniquely high risk for developing lymphedema, which is commonly caused by cancer or cancer treatment,” says Dr. Imran Ratanshi, a Lead Reconstructive Craniofacial Surgeon and Microsurgeon who works at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. “Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s investment will allow us develop a new Lymphatic Reconstruction Program to perform these breakthrough microsurgeries to offer the next evolution of care for patients with breast and other aggressive cancers.”

The Lymphatic to Vein Bypass, or LV Bypass (1) and Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer, or VLNT (2) are breakthrough surgeries that employ microsurgical techniques to 1) re-route the lymphatic system, bypassing damaged nodes and connecting lymphatic channels to drain directly into the venous system; 2) transplant lymph nodes from a healthy part of the body to the affected area, promoting drainage and formation of new lymphatic channels. LV bypass can be done as same-day surgery, while VLNT requires a short hospital admission.

Dr. Imran Ratanshi is one of only few Plastic Surgeons in Canada with dual-subspecialty training in both Microvascular Reconstruction and Craniofacial Surgery. He has trained all around the world including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Harvard University’s Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and other medical centres across the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

Dr. Jennifer Prince is a Plastic Surgeon with subspecialty training in microvascular reconstruction, whose practice extends to cancer reconstruction, breast surgery, hand and peripheral nerve surgery, and cosmetic surgery.

All donations made to this program by December 31, 2021 will be matched by Jim Pattison, as part of the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre 10th Anniversary campaign.

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