Lymphedema Microsurgical Preventive Healing Approach: A New Technique for Primary Prevention of Arm Lymphedema After Mastectomy

  • Francesco Boccardo
  • Federico Casabona
  • Franco De Cian
  • Daniele Friedman
  • Giuseppe Villa
  • Stefano Bogliolo
  • Simone Ferrero
  • Federica Murelli
  • Corradino Campisi
Breast Oncology



The purpose of this manuscript is to assess the efficacy of direct lymphaticvenous microsurgery in the prevention of lymphedema following axillary dissection for breast cancer.


Nineteen patients with operable breast cancer requiring an axillary dissection underwent surgery, carrying out LVA between the blue lymphatics and an axillary vein branch simultaneously. The follow-up after 6 and 12 months from the operation included circumferential measurements in all cases and lymphangioscintigraphy only in 18 patients out of 19 cases.


Blue nodes in relation to lymphatic arm drainage were identified in 18/19 patients. All blue nodes were resected and 2-4 main afferent lymphatics from the arm could be prepared and used for anastomoses. Lymphatic-venous anastomoses allowed to prevent lymphedema in all cases. Lymphangioscintigraphy demonstrated the patency of microvascular anastomoses.


Disruption of the blue nodes and closure of arm lymphatics can explain the significantly high risk of lymphedema after axillary dissection. LVA proved to be a safe procedure for patients in order to prevent arm lymphedema.


Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Lymphedema Axillary Lymph Node Dissection Axillary Dissection Axillary Vein 
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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Boccardo
    • 1
  • Federico Casabona
    • 2
  • Franco De Cian
    • 3
  • Daniele Friedman
    • 4
  • Giuseppe Villa
    • 5
  • Stefano Bogliolo
    • 2
  • Simone Ferrero
    • 2
  • Federica Murelli
    • 4
  • Corradino Campisi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Unit of Lymphatic Surgery, S. Martino HospitalUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, S. Martino HospitalUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, Unit of Oncologic Surgery, S. Martino HospitalUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Surgery, Breast Unit, S. Martino HospitalUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Nuclear Medicine, S. Martino HospitalUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

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