Background: Treatment of advanced lymphedema requires not only restoration of physiological lymph drainage, but also excision of fibrotic tissue and excess skin. The aim of this study is to show how the combination of double vascularized lymph node transfers (VLNTs) and a modified radical reduction with preservation of perforators (RRPP) can accomplish both of these treatment goals. Methods: Between 2010 and 2016, 16 patients (15 female and one male) with extremity lymphedema underwent a combined double gastroepiploic VLNTs and modified RRPP. Demographics, outcomes including circumference reduction rates, preoperative and postoperative lymphoscintigraphy, complications, and responses to the Lymphedema Quality of Life (LYMQOL) questionnaire were analyzed. Results: All flaps survived. The mean follow-up period was 14.2 months (range, 12-19). The mean circumference reduction rate was 74.5% ± 6.9% for the upper limb and 68.0% ± 4.2% for the lower limb. There were no major complications. Minor complications, including numbness and hyperesthesia, were treated conservatively. LYMQOL showed a 2.7-fold quality-of-life improvement (P < 0.01). Postoperative lymphoscintigraphy showed improved lymphatic drainage in all cases. Conclusion: Combined double VLNTs and modified RRPP safely and effectively improves lymphatic drainage, reduces fibrotic tissue and excess skin, decreases episodes of infections, and improves patients’ quality of life in the advanced stages of lymphedema.
- advanced lymphedema
- lymphaticovenous anastomosis
- radical reduction with preservation of perforators
- vascularized lymph node transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas