Microlymphatic surgery for the treatment of iatrogenic lymphedema

Clin Plast Surg. 2012 Oct;39(4):385-98. doi: 10.1016/j.cps.2012.08.002.


Lymphedema is a chronic and progressive condition that occurs after cancer treatment. Autologous lymph node transplant, or microsurgical vascularized lymph node transfer (ALNT), is a surgical treatment option that brings vascularized vascular endothelial growth factor-C-producing tissue into the operated field to promote lymphangiogenesis and bridge the distal obstructed lymphatic system with the proximal lymphatic system. Operative techniques for upper- and lower-extremity ALNT are described with 3 donor lymph node flaps (inguinal, thoracic, cervical). Surgical technique is described for the combination of ALNT with abdominal flaps and nonabdominal flaps. Imaging showing restoration of lymphatic drainage after ALNT is shown.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Lymph Nodes / transplantation*
  • Lymphangiogenesis / drug effects
  • Lymphedema / etiology
  • Lymphedema / surgery*
  • Microsurgery
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C / administration & dosage


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C