[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on the modern surgical management of peripheral lymphedema. An adequate diagnostic route is essential: it has to include patient history and clinical examination, an isotopic lymphography, an accurate study of the venous circulation, and in cases of angiodysplasia, an accurate study of the artery circulation. Based on over 25 years of clinical experience (more than 1,000 patients), the role of derivative and (in those cases where a venous disease is associated with lymphostatic pathology) reconstructive lymphatic microsurgery is particularly underlined, in comparison with conservative medico-physical treatment, to which it is complementary. "Debulking" surgery can be used just in properly selected patients for minor operations with only cosmethic-reductive purposes. With a follow-up even over 15 years after surgery, positive results from lymphatic microsurgery can be achieved in more than 80% of cases, especially in patients at precocious stages.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Secondary lymphoedema of the upper limbs is a fairly frequent complication of breast cancer treatment. It is related to dissection of the axillary lymph nodes, and manifests itself in the form of clinically important lymphostasis, particularly when the dissection is combined with radiotherapy. Despite the fact that the surgical treatment of mammary cancer has become more conservative and, at the same time, radiotheraphy (when necessary) now proves less aggressive and more efficacious, secondary lymphoedema is still reported with incidence rates ranging from 5 to 25%, with an increase of up to 35% and more, when dissection of the axillary lymph nodes is followed by radiotherapy. The aim of this study was to highlight the essential importance of an early diagnosis of secondary lymphoedema, above all in relation to the prevention of this pathology. We report the case of a patient who, at the same time as the axillary lymphnode dissection, underwent a microsurgical operation consisting in the construction of lymphatic-venous shunts in the arm as a preventive measure, because lymphoscintigraphy of the upper limbs, carried out in advance, had revealed a predisposition to the development of lymphedema.