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, 28 (1), 291-300

Primary Lower Limb Lymphoedema: Classification With Non-Contrast MR Lymphography

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Primary Lower Limb Lymphoedema: Classification With Non-Contrast MR Lymphography

Lionel Arrivé et al. Eur Radiol.

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to analyse the performance of non-contrast MR lymphography for the classification of primary lower limb lymphoedema in 121 consecutive patients with 187 primary lower limb lymphoedemas.

Materials and methods: 121 consecutive patients with clinically diagnosed primary lower limb lymphoedema underwent non-contrast MR lymphography with a free-breathing 3D fast spin-echo sequence with a very long TR/TE (4000/884 ms). MR examinations were retrospectively reviewed for severity of lymphoedema (absent, mild, moderate, severe) and characteristics of inguinal lymph nodes and iliac and inguinal lymphatic trunks graded as aplasic (no lymph nodes or lymphatic trunks), hypoplasic (less lymph nodes or lymphatic trunks), normal and hyperplasic (more lymph nodes or more and/or dilated trunks).

Results: There was an excellent correlation between clinical stage and severity of lymphoedema (Cramer's V of 0,73 (p < 0.001)). Differentiation was feasible between inguinal lymphatic vessel aplasia (21%), hypoplasia (15%), normal pattern (53%) and hyperplasia (11%). Severe lymphoedema was observed in 46% of aplasic patterns and in 37% of hyperplasic patterns, but in only 15% of hypoplasic patterns and never observed in normal patterns (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Non-contrast MR lymphography is able to classify primary lower limb lymphoedemas into hyperplasic, aplasic, hypoplasic and normal patterns.

Key points: • Non-contrast MR lymphography is able to classify primary lower limb lymphoedemas. • Lymphoedema can be classified in hyperplasic, aplasic, hypoplasic and normal patterns. • Non-contrast MR lymphography can optimize clinical management of primary lower limb lymphoedemas.

Keywords: Lower limb lymphoedema; Lymphatic vessels; Lymphoedema; MR lymphography; Non-contrast MR lymphography.

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