, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 859-864

Long-Term Results of Microscopic Lymphatic Vessel-Isolated Vein Anastomosis for Secondary Lymphedema of the Lower Extremities

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Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate the effectiveness of microscopic lymphatic vessel-isolated vein anastomosis in patients with secondary obstructive lymphedema of a lower extremity, refractory to nonoperative management.

Methods

Nine women suffered from nonpitting edema of one or both legs (11 limbs) after radical hysterectomy with postoperative irradiation for uterine cancer. The indications for this operation were repeated cellulitis and severe nonpitting edema impairing limb function. Under microscopy of 3.2 on average, the identified lymphatic vessels were anastomosed to an isolated saphenous vein using the pull-through technique with modifications.

Results

The follow-up period ranged from 21 to 87 months and the operation achieved excellent reduction, of more than 5 cm, in six limbs; good reduction, of 2–5 cm, in two limbs; and poor reduction, of less than 2 cm, in three limbs. The frequency of cellulitis decreased from 2.4 infections per patient per year to 0.2 infections per patient per year.

Conclusion

These results show that microscopic lymphatic vessel-isolated vein anastomosis is a minimally invasive operation, with good long-term effects, making it the treatment of choice for intractable secondary lymphedema of the lower extremities refractory to physiotherapy.