A message and an update from Russia Chapter Chair Aleksandra Rovnaya, MD
2021 was a challenging year for almost all of us worldwide and nothing was easy. But we felt that we had no right to stop, that patients are counting on us, so despite the pandemic, on the March 6th, for the World lymphedema day, we with the Russian Lymphology Association, managed to organize a number of fabulous events for patients and doctors all over Russia, and I m very grateful for everybody who supported this day with us, spreading the knowledge and confidence.
Then there were a number of online conferences during the year (from Latin America to Romania and Russia), where I had the honor to give talks, many schools for patients done by my colleagues and me. Also, it was important to collect statistics about Covid 19 and lymphedema, as well as about vaccination and lymphedema, so we could make first conclusions and statements for our patients, that turned into guidelines.
Also, 2021 was an important year as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the oldest Russian lymphology clinic, Limpha, where during these years more than 10000 patients received professional help in treating this disease, and its Director, Dr.Ivan Makarov, prepared a lot of materials and projects for patients with lymphedema.
Also despite the pandemic restrictions, along with the limpha-training educational project, I gave two Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) courses in Russia, in Moscow in May with Dr. Ivan Makarov and another one at the end of the year in Kazan with Dr. Ivan Makarov and Dr. Aygiz Feiskhanov. More than that, I gave one CDT course in Romania along with Limfedem Romania Foundation in the fall, and one more in Malta in November. That increased the number of new specialists in lymphology on 42 people, and they were from different cities of these countries, so that will give more opportunities for patients to get professional help without leaving the place where they live.
I attended the International Society of Lymphology (ISL) Congress in Athens in September as a trainer in CDT and delivered two talks at the event. It was the first live international lymphological conference after the long Covid break, and it was a great pleasure to see colleagues in person and share the experience and discuss future projects.
Then, in October, I was a co-organizer alongside Russian oncologists and plastic surgeons, of an amazing live (not online!) conference chapter that focused oncologists on lymphedema prevention and treatment. This event - the First Black Sea Conference on an Interdisciplinary Approach in Breast Surgery - took place in Gelendzhik on the South of Russia, in the clinic Lancet.
Despite closed borders and Covid restrictions, we managed to bring such brilliant specialists in lymphology as Dr. Jaume Masia, Dr. J. P. Hong, Dr. Håkan Brorson, Dr. Sinikka Suominen and Dr. Alexandru Nistor to Russia. This stellar faculty gave fantastic talks and lectures about lymphedema prevention and treatment to oncologists and plastic surgeons and we made Indocyanine Green (ICG) lymphography for lymphedema patients with their participation, guidance and advice for future treatment tactics. I never saw my patients so happy and grateful, it was because of the attitude and the amount of attention that they received from our international colleagues. Oncologists and surgeons who attended this event now are having more knowledge about lymphedema and cannot ignore it.
I also had a special opportunity at the end of October to visit the medical laboratory of Alexandru Nistor in Timisoara, Romania, where he is having a course in microsurgery. It is a fantastic place where this doctor put all the best fasilities and his soul to train surgeons on a live animal model in any microsurgery or super-microsurgery they need, including lymphatic surgery. I really hope that next year we can cooperate with Dr.Nistor in terms of sending our surgeons for his course in lymphatic surgery.
Then in November, I traveled to Copenhagen to the International Lymphoedema Framework (ILF) Conference. It was the biggest live event of the last two years I've been with more than 600 participants, an absolutely outstanding scientific program with brilliant lecturers. I also had the opportunity to give a talk there about lymphedema and CoViD-19 and to present a poster about CDT in children with lymphedema.
But just before this conference, in the same city - Copenhagen, another interesting and important event took place - the meeting of founder members of the International Lipedema Association (ILA). This organization was founded by Dr.Tobias Bertsch from Földi clinic and I was invited by him to become a founder member and representative from Russia. The work of all international founder members shoud help for the new Lipedema consensus and important knowledge about this disease to become available in many countries and, currently, I'm working on the translation into the Russian language.
For World Lymphedema Day 2022 on March 6, we are planning interesting events in Russia, Romania, Malta, and other countries for the patient communities and medical specialists and we really hope that the pandemic will ease, allowing us to do even more in 2022. We prepared several good surprises for the next year and we hope our plans will become true and we will be able to share with you good news during 2022.
I wish all of you and your families good health and happiness for the New 2022 Year and I also wish you all to stay strong, not to lose hope, and continue to do what you believe in! LE&RN has made all of us into a fantastic team, patients, experts, friends, supporters. We will continue to make progress in the year to come.