Vascularized appendicular lymph node transfer for treatment of extremity lymphedema: A case report

Pedro Ciudad, Oscar J Manrique, Shivprasad Date, Wei-Ling Chang, Fabio Nicoli, Stamatis Sapountzis, Hsu-Tang Cheng, Mouchammed Agko, Hung-Chi Chen

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Abstract

Vascularized lymph node transfer has demonstrated promising results for the treatment of extremity lymphedema. In an attempt to find the ideal donor site, several vascularized lymph nodes have been described. Each has a common goal of decreasing morbidity and avoiding iatrogenic lymphedema while obtaining good clinical results. Herein, we present the preliminary clinical outcomes of an intra-abdominal lymph node flap option based on the appendicular artery and vein used for the treatment of extremity lymphedema. A 62 year-old woman with moderate lower extremity lymphedema, on chronic antibiotics because of recurrent infections and unsatisfactory outcomes after conservative treatment underwent a vascularized appendicular lymph node (VALN) transfer. At a follow-up of 6 months, the reduction rate of the limb circumference was 17.4%, 15.1%, 12.0% and 9% above the knee, below the knee, above the ankle and foot respectively. In addition, no further episodes of infection or other complications were reported after VALN transfer. Postoperative lymphoscintigraphy demonstrated that the VALN flap was able to improve the lymphatic drainage of the affected limb. According to our findings, the use of VALN transfer minimizes donor-site morbidity, avoids iatrogenic lymphedema and may provide a strong clearance of infection because of the strong immunologic properties of the appendiceal lymphatic tissue in selected patients. Despite these promising results, further research with larger number of patients and longer follow- up is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrosurgery
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 2 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Ciudad, P., Manrique, O. J., Date, S., Chang, W-L., Nicoli, F., Sapountzis, S., ... Chen, H-C. (2016). Vascularized appendicular lymph node transfer for treatment of extremity lymphedema: A case report. Microsurgery. https://doi.org/10.1002/micr.30134