Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 21 (4), 1189-94

An Effective System of Surgical Treatment of Lymphedema


An Effective System of Surgical Treatment of Lymphedema

Jay W Granzow et al. Ann Surg Oncol.


Background: Effective surgical treatments for lymphedema now can address the fluid and solid phases of the disease process. Microsurgical procedures, including lymphaticovenous anastomosis (LVA) and vascularized lymph node transfer (VLNT), target the fluid component that predominates at earlier stages of the disease. Suction-assisted protein lipectomy (SAPL) addresses the solid component that typically presents later as chronic, nonpitting lymphedema of an extremity. We assess the outcomes of patients who underwent selective application of these three surgical procedures as part of an effective system to treat lymphedema.

Methods: This is a retrospective chart review of patients with lymphedema who underwent complete decongestive therapy followed by surgical treatment with SAPL, LVA, or VLNT. The primary outcomes measured were postoperative volume reduction (SAPL), daily requirement for compression garments and lymphedema therapy (VLNT and LVA), and the incidence of severe cellulitis.

Results: Twenty-six patients were included in the study, of which 10 underwent SAPL and 16 underwent LVA or VLNT. The average reduction of excess volume by SAPL was 3,212 mL in legs and 943 mL in arms, or a volume reduction of 87 and 111 %, respectively, when compared with the unaffected, opposite sides. Microsurgical procedures (VLNT and LVA) significantly reduced the need for both compression garment use (p = 0.003) and lymphedema therapy (p < 0.0001). The overall rate of cellulitis decreased from 58 % before surgery to 15 % after surgery (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: When applied appropriately to properly selected patients, surgical procedures used in the treatment of lymphedema are effective and safe.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 10 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources