ABSTRACT: Lymphaticovenous anastomosis has been used for patients with peripheral lymphedema. However, the efficacy of this procedure is controversial due to a lack of evidence regarding postoperative patency. We sought to determine midterm postoperative patency of lymphaticovenous side-to-end anastomoses (LVSEAs) using indocyanine green fluorescence lymphography.
This was a retrospective observational study set in a teaching hospital. Of 107 patients with chronic lymphedema who underwent 472 LVSEAs, 57 (223 anastomoses) consented to fluorescence lymphography and comprised the study cohort. The intervention consisted of a microsurgical LVSEA performed with a suture-stent method. Patients also had preoperative and postoperative complex decongestive physiotherapy. Anastomosis patency was assessed using indocyanine green fluorescence lymphography ≥6 months after surgery. Patency rates were calculated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. We assessed volume reduction on the operated-on limb and compared this between patients in whom anastomoses were patent and those in whom anastomoses were not obviously patent.
Patency could be evaluated only at the dorsum of the foot, ankle, and lower leg because the near-infrared rays emitted by the special camera used could not penetrate the deep subcutaneous layer containing collective lymphatics in areas such as the thigh. Several patterns were observed on fluorescence lymphography: straight, radial, and L-shaped. Cumulative patency rates of LVSEAs were 75% at 12 months and 36% at 24 months after surgery. No significant difference in volume change of the affected limb was seen between the 34 patients with patent anastomosis (600 ± 969 mL) and the 24 patients without obvious evidence of patency (420 ± 874 mL).
Although further study is required to determine factors leading to anastomotic obstruction and to optimize the results of microlymphatic surgery, the present LVSEA technique appears promising.
Journal of vascular surgery: official publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter 12/2011; 55(3):753-60. · 3.52 Impact Factor