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Surgical Treatment Options of Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema

Abstract

Purpose

Lymphedema after cancer treatment is a progressive, debilitating condition that is becoming increasingly common as mortality rates decline. The purpose of this review is to summarize the evolution of treatment of lymphedema focusing on surgical management and outcomes.

Recent Findings

With the development of supermicrosurgical techniques and advanced imaging technology, surgical treatment of lymphedema has evolved past reductive measures and sought to address the underlying pathophysiology. Particularly in breast cancer-related lymphedema, our group follows a novel algorithm to address both the autologous breast reconstruction with physiologic treatment of the affected extremity.

Summary

Patients and physicians alike should be educated about the risk factors for developing lymphedema after cancer treatment, prompt and proper diagnosis, as well as conservative and surgical treatment options. While the optimal treatment algorithm remains to be elucidated, a multi-modality treatment approach has demonstrated promising outcomes in symptom improvement, volume reduction, and quality of life.

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Correspondence to Summer E. Hanson.

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Hanson, S.E., Chu, C.K. & Chang, E.I. Surgical Treatment Options of Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema. Curr Surg Rep 9, 6 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40137-021-00286-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40137-021-00286-6

Keywords

  • Lymphedema
  • Vascularized lymph node transfer
  • Lymphovenous bypass
  • Lymphovenous anastomosis
  • Breast cancer-related lymphedema