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Lymphatic vessel function and lymphatic growth factor secretion after microvascular lymph node transfer in lymphedema patients



Lymphatic vessel function and lymphatic growth factor secretion after microvascular lymph node transfer in lymphedema patients



Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Global Open 1(2): 1-9



Recent reports have shown that microvascular lymph node transfer may improve lymphatic drainage in lymphedema patients. Lymphatic anastomoses are expected to form spontaneously in response to lymphatic growth factor [vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C)] secreted by the transferred lymph nodes. We have analyzed the results of 19 lymph node transfer patients operated on 2007-2012. Postoperat ive lymphatic function of the affected arm was evaluated using semiquantitative lymphoscintigraphy (transport index) and limb circumference measurements. To investigate the postoperative VEGF-C secretion, we examined axillary seroma fluid samples after different surgical operations, including lymph node transfer. The transport index was improved postoperatively in 7 of 19 patients. Ten of the 19 patients were able to reduce or even discontinue using compression garments. Arm circumferences were reduced in 12 of 19 patients. Six of the 7 patients with preoperative erysipelas infections have not had infectious episodes postoperatively during 15-67 months follow-up. Neuropathic pain was relieved in 5 of 5 patients. VEGF-C protein was detected in the axillary seroma fluid both after lymph node transfer and normal breast reconstruction. Reconstructing the lymphatic anatomy of the axilla with a lymph node flap may offer possibilities that other reconstructive options are lacking. However, we will need further reports and comparative studies about the clinical efficacy of this new promising technique. In addition to the transferred lymph nodes, lymphatic growth factor production may also be induced by other factors related to microvascular breast reconstruction.

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Accession: 054200887

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25289206

DOI: 10.1097/gox.0b013e318293a532


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