Percutaneous sclerotherapy of lymphatic malformations with doxycycline

Lymphat Res Biol. 2008;6(3-4):209-16. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2008.1004.


Background: Lymphatic malformations (LMs) can be effectively treated by percutaneous intralesional injection of a variety of sclerosant drugs. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of doxycycline in the treatment of LMs.

Methods and results: We reviewed the medical records of all patients with LMs who underwent sclerotherapy with doxycycline between January 1, 2003 and September 1, 2004 at Children's Hospital Boston. Follow-up imaging was performed to assess for change in lesion size. Surveys were sent to all study patients, to assess perceived improvements in symptoms and satisfaction with the results. Sixty sclerotherapy procedures were performed on 41 patients in the 20-month study period. The median age was 6.9 years (3 mo-31 y). The most common location was cervicofacial (66%), followed by truncal (19%) and extremity (15%). The most common lesion type was macrocystic (49%), followed by combined (44%) and microcystic (7%). The major and minor complication rates were 2% and 10%, respectively. The mean outcome score by imaging was 4.41/5 with a 95% CI of [4.13-4.68] corresponding to about an 83% reduction in lesion size, and by patient survey was 4.47/5 with a 95% CI of [4.15-4.79] corresponding to between a good to complete response. Higher complication rates were associated with microcystic and combined lesions (p = 0.03), and greater doxycycline dose (p = 0.05).

Conclusions: Doxycycline is a safe and effective sclerosant for LMs. Greater follow-up is necessary to quantify long-term outcomes and assess the risks of lesion recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / drug therapy*
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / pathology
  • Lymphatic System / pathology*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sclerosing Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Doxycycline