The long-term patency of lymphaticovenular anastomosis in breast cancer-related lymphedema

Harm Winters, Hanneke J. P. Tielemans, Arico C. Verhulst, Vera A. A. Paulus, Nicholas J. Slater, Dietmar J. O. Ulrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and Objectives Lymphedema is a condition that can greatly affect patient's quality of life. Promising results have been described with lymphaticovenular anastomosis (LVA) in the treatment of lymphedema. It is currently unknown at what rate anastomoses remain functional after a longer follow-up. The aim of this study was to determine LVA patency at 1-year follow-up. Methods Retrospective chart review was performed on patients who underwent LVA surgery. Patients who had indocyanine green lymphography performed at 12 months' follow-up after LVA were included in this study. Volume measurements were performed prior to surgery and at 6 and 12 months' follow-up. Patients quality of life was measured prior to surgery and at 6 months' follow-up. Results Twelve patients met inclusion criteria. In total, 15 (56.5%) of 23 LVAs were considered patent. In 8 patients (66.7%), at least 1 patent LVA was visible. The volume difference between the healthy and affected arms decreased 32.3% on average. Quality of life increased with 1.4 points on average. Conclusions This study is, to our knowledge, the first to evaluate long-term patency of LVA in upper limb lymphedema. Our study demonstrates that at least 56.5% of the anastomoses created are patent after 1-year follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-200
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

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