Unsightly Arm Due To Veins
I finished chemo at the end of October 2016. My veins are still in a mess, I can not completely straighten my chemo arm because the vein running through my elbowpit is rock hard. There has been no improvement at all since I finished my chemo approx 6 months ago. It looks worse if I twist my arm.
Is anybody else suffering with this? Does it ever recover? Is there anything I can do to improve it?
Thanks, Rach xx
I just did a search about this very thing. No answers but the same questions. Finished my 3 FEC and on to 3 T in May. Since first chemo I have felt pressure above the elbow and a soreness. Got worse after second chemo. Showed it to onco nurse and she said yes, it was troughing and showing damage but felt confident my veins could take the next 4 treatments. I also have a dark and denting inward vein at my elbow and it is quite sore now after the 3rd chemo. I’m now relying more on my ‘bad’ arm . Reaching is limited and painful. Nurse suggested using ibuprofen gel on area but I haven’t gotten any yet to try. She said it could take a year to sort itself but that it would heal eventually. At least the really caustic red E is finished for me. I’m seeing the physio in May as well so will ask her too. I took co-codamol this morning as my hips are twingy and a bit painful today so maybe that will give me some relief for my arm as well.
All the best!
Wrong Angle Or Fishing
A needle must be slowly inserted at the proper angle, not too shallow or too deep. Being off the mark can result in a blown vein.
If a vein cant be entered on the first try, its important not to move the needle around in search of another vein. The needle should be pulled out and reinserted in a better location.
Six Ways To Stay Strong During Chemo
You are probably aware that chemotherapy is one of the most common cancer treatments, and that it may cause side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, swelling, and digestive problems. But did you know how important it is to be proactive about keeping your body and mind strong during treatment? Here are six ways to keep your body healthy during chemotherapy treatment:
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How Do I Care For My Catheter Or Port
Taking good care of your catheter or port reduces the risk of problems. It is particularly important to take special care of the portion of the catheter outside the skin and the area around it.
You must also flush a catheter with sterile fluid every day. This keeps it from being blocked. Your nurse will show you how or an IV service can help until you feel comfortable doing it. This may be shown at the doctor’s office or during an at-home visit.
Your health care team will tell you how to take care of your catheter or port. Common instructions include:
Always wash your hands before you touch the catheter. This helps prevent infection.
Never touch the catheter tip when the cap is off.
Follow instructions on regularly cleaning the area and changing the bandage, while holding the catheter in place.
Keep air out of the catheter. Make sure the top or clamps are on tight except during treatment.
Avoid any breaks or cuts in the catheter.
Keep the catheter from going underwater.
A port is under your skin, so it needs less care. After the port is put in place, the skin will need to heal. Ask your health care team how to care for the area and follow their guidance. Sometimes, your port does not get used often. Your nurse may need to flush it so it does not get blocked.
How A Chemo Port Is Implanted
Chemo ports are surgically placed under the skin near a large vein in the upper chest. They are typically implanted as a same-day procedure with a local anesthetic that numbs the skin rather than puts you to sleep. They are sometimes placed at the same time as the surgical resection of a tumor.
During the insertion, a small, round metal or plastic disc, called the drum or reservoir, is placed under the skin through a 1- to 2-inch incision. An attached tube, called a catheter, is then connected to either the internal jugular vein of the neck or the subclavian vein that runs from the shoulder to the neck.
After your port is placed, the surgeon will perform an X-ray to make sure the port is correctly connected and secured. The port will be visibly seen under the skin but is largely concealed with clothes.
After chemotherapy is completed, the device can be removed.
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Understanding Your Options For Treating Damaged Veins
Your body is filled with veins and arteries that transport blood to and from your heart. Your blood delivers life-giving oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and bone tissues. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart, and veins bring blood back to your heart. Veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing in the right direction.
Yet nearly 40% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50 suffer from damaged veins. When your veins are damaged, the valves dont work properly, causing blood to flow backward and pool in your legs. Damaged veins can cause swelling, pain, and unsightly legs. They can severely impact your quality of life and put you at greater risk for developing dangerous blood clots.
Led by Dr. Clement Banda, our team here at MD Vein & Skin Specialists treats patients suffering from a variety of vein conditions varicose veins, spider veins, and more. We offer the latest treatment methods and minimally invasive procedures to help you find the best vein treatment option for your lifestyle.
How Harmful Is A Blown Vein
Blown veins require medical treatment, but they do not usually result in long-term damage to the vein and generally heal in 1012 days.
However, a blown vein can sometimes complicate medical treatment. For example, if the walls of a vein swell up after rupturing, this can prevent medications or IV fluids from getting through to the rest of the body.
If a person receiving IV fluids has a ruptured vein, the fluids may seep into the surrounding tissue. This effect is known as infiltration.
If either of these complications occurs, a medical professional will likely relocate the needle to a different vein and allow the blown vein to heal fully before using it again.
Another potential complication is extravasation, which occurs when a drug that causes irritation seeps into the tissue surrounding a blown vein. Extravasation may cause pain, inflammation, mobility problems, or infection.
Chemotherapy medications are an example of a drug that can cause extravasation.
Blown veins occur as a result of improper needle insertion into a vein. This action can cause a puncture on one or both sides of the vein wall, or it can lead to irritation inside the vein.
Various factors can raise the likelihood of blown veins, including:
- movement during needle insertion
After a medical professional detects a ruptured vein, they will apply pressure and, if necessary, remove the IV line. They will then clean the insertion site and apply ice if there is significant swelling.
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Can Surgery Heal Vein Valves
When the damage to valves begins to impair your regular blood flow, often surgery is the most effective method of repairing them. This can be done in several ways, depending on how severe the issue is.
In milder cases, the valve can be repaired under local anaesthetic, by stitching the valve back together or slightly tightening the blood vessel to create a new valve.
In more serious cases, often the procedure needs to occur under general anaesthetic and may require work along the veins.
Tubes Used To Drain Fluids From The Body
Draining tubes might be used to help drain extra fluid that builds up after surgery or a procedure, or because of a tumor blockage. Draining tubes can be used in different ways. For example, a tube might be:
- Put in through the nose that goes to the stomach, called a nasogastric tube might be used if there’s a blockage or obstruction. Or, a tube can be put into the stomach or rectum to drain excess fluid or help with a blockage.
- Inserted into the chest between two ribs to drain extra fluid from the lungs or to help keep lungs filled with air.
- Inserted into the abdomen to drain extra fluid that builds up due to certain cancers.
- Put into the bladder to drain urine after surgery or because of other problems that might come up.
- Put into a colostomy or the rectum to help drain intestinal waste if needed.
If you leave the hospital with any drainage tubes, your nurse will teach you how to care for them and what problems to watch for.
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Problems That Might Happen With Central Venous Catheters
Potential problems could develop in CVCs. What kind of problems might happen depend on the type of catheter that’s used.
Possible problems when a CVC is inserted, or put in:
- You may have pain where the catheter is put in or where it lies under your skin.
- The needle or catheter thats used might damage the vein or another blood vessel. This can cause bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, or infection.
- Tests will be done before the CVC is put in to be sure that your blood clots normally. Even when it does clot normally, blood can leak out of the vein and cause bruising, pressure on other blood vessels or organs, and other problems. In most cases, bleeding is mild and stops on its own.
- Sometimes a condition called a collapsed lung may develop when a CVC is placed in the chest or neck. This happens when a lung is punctured and air collects in the chest outside the lung. CVC placement guided by ultrasound or fluoroscopy greatly decreases this risk.
- Your normal heart rhythm may be disturbed when the catheter is put in. This is usually only temporary and the normal rhythm returns when the catheter is repositioned. It rarely causes serious problems.
- In rare cases, the catheter will go into the wrong place, like an artery instead of a vein. If this happens, the catheter will have to be taken out. If there are no other complications, the artery usually heals by itself.
Problems that could happen later with CVCs:
When to call your cancer care team
How Chemotherapy Affects Your Body After Treatment
Some side effects of chemotherapy only happen while you’re having treatment and disappear quickly after it’s over. But others can linger for months or years or may never completely go away.
Watch out for signs of chemo’s long-term changes, and let your doctor know how you feel. Your doctor can suggest ways to manage your symptoms.
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Can Damaged Veins Be Repaired
Extensive research study currently shows that it is feasible for capillary damage to recover. Issues such as a capillary clog or harmed venous valves can be fixed as well as turned around. Whether its via managed diet regimen, drug, surgical treatment, or a mix of the 3, it is possible to recoup at least a few of the damage.
Fear Of Cancer Coming Back
After treatment, many people might be afraid that their cancer will come back . You may become concerned about new symptoms youre having and wonder if theyre related to breast cancer.
Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about any new symptoms you notice. Many of these issues are normal parts of healing and your body returning to a new normal after breast cancer treatment. Your healthcare team is always available to discuss your concerns or fears with you.
You can call or send messages to your doctor or nurse through MyMSK . It may also be helpful to talk with a social worker, therapist, or chaplain. You can also join a support group. For more information, read MSK Support Services.
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Decrease In Blood Cell Counts:
Why it happens: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, white blood cells help fight infection, and platelets help stop bleeding. These normal, healthy cells divide rapidly, just like the cancer cells, which is why chemo often affects these benign cells in addition to the cancer cells.
How to handle anemia :
- Get at least eight hours of sleep each night
- Take short naps during the day
- Limit your activities by setting priorities of what you need to get completed for the day
- Accept help when your family and friends offer
- Eat a well-balanced diet that contains all the calories and protein your body needs to keep your weight up and repair tissues that have been harmed by the chemo
How to handle infections :
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Carry hand sanitizer
- Use sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces and items that you touch
- Be gentle and thorough when you wipe after a bowel movement
- Take good care of your skin and clean cuts right away
- Stay away from people who are sick or crowds
- Wash raw vegetables and fruits before eating them
- Do not eat raw or undercooked fish, seafood, meat, chicken, or eggs
- If you are a pet owner, have someone else clean up animal waste
- Do not get a flu shot or other vaccine without first checking with your cancer doctor or nurse.
How to handle a low platelet count:
Your doctor or nurse will order blood tests to find out your blood counts throughout your chemo treatment.
What Happens When Veins Are Damaged
The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. The skin, liver, and even your brain can bounce back from major damage and injury. Although our regenerative powers are considerable, it does have its limits. Veins, the delicate tissues that circulate blood from the body back to the heart, are one of them. To get a better appreciation for what happens when veins are damaged, take a moment to consider the important role that veins play in your cardiovascular function and the importance of that system in your overall health.
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How To Heal Veins From Iv Drug Use
Veins are a vast and intricate network of blood vessels located throughout every inch of the body. They are tasked with the crucial role of ensuring your organs and skin receive oxygenated blood. Despite how important they are to the cardiovascular system and overall health, veins are quite fragile and easily prone to damage and disease. Vein damage caused by needles can be reversedbut not always. Precisely how to heal veins from IV drug use will largely depend on the type and extent of the damage inflicted.
Repair Of Surface Veins
For people that have suffered with venous disease for many years, surface veins have lost their elasticity, and will not snap back after the pressure is relieved, so it is necessary to have a procedure designed to target the surface veins. Depending on the size, location, and extent of the varicose veins, microphlebectomy or Sclerotherapy may be offered. These procedures are described below:
Microphlebectomy Here a vein is removed through a tiny puncture in the skin in the doctors office under a local anesthetic. The punctures are small and no stitches are required.
Sclerotherapy Smaller varicose veins and spider veins are repaired using Sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution directly into a diseased vein in order to close it off and seal it shut. Once the vein is closed, blood is re-routed through healthy veins around it.
As you see from the above synopses of the various vein problems, you are not unique with your pain and suffering, and, seeing a vein specialist will put you on the road to recovery and going forward you will be much more knowledgeable in varicose vein prevention.
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Beyond Six Months Post
Venous insufficiency is considered a chronic and progressive disease process, therefore we eliminate those veins that are initially seen to be refluxingin other words, not moving the blood properly. In time, however, other veins may become dysfunctional, which is why we provide a surveillance and monitoring service to our patients. After the first year is complete, you’ll need annual follow-up appointments. If at any time throughout the process you develop new or worsening symptoms, you should contact the CVR office to make an appointment for evaluation.