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2009 Annual Meeting Abstracts


Lymphaticovenular Bypass for Management of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Patients:
A Prospective Analysis

David W. Chang, MD.
MD Anderson Cancer Center, HOUSTON, TX, USA.

Lymphaticovenular Bypass for Management of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Patients:
A Prospective Analysis
Purpose: Lymphedema is a common and debilitating condition following surgical and/or radiation therapy for breast cancer. However, lymphedema is difficult to manage and surgical options have been limited and controversial. The purpose of this prospective study is to provide preliminary analysis of lymphaticovenular bypass for upper limb lymphedema in patients with breast cancer.
Methods: Twenty consecutive patients with lymphedema of upper extremity secondary to treatment of breast cancer who underwent lymphaticovenular bypass using “super-microsurgical” approach from December 2005 to September 2008 were evaluated. Mean age was 54 years. Of 20 patients 16 patients had received preoperative XRT and all patients had received axillary lymph node dissection. All patients presented with stage 2 or 3 lymphedema with mean duration of 4.8 years and the mean volume differential of lymphedema arm compared to unaffected arm of 34%. Evaluation included qualitative assessment and quantitative volumetric analysis prior to surgery, at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and at 1 year following the procedure. All data were collected prospectively.
Results: Mean number of bypasses performed on each patient was 3.5 and the size of bypasses ranged from 0.3 mm to 0.8 mm. Mean operative time was 3.3 hours (2 to 5 hours). Hospital stay was < 24 hours in all patients. Mean follow up was 18 months. Of 20 patients, 19 patients reported significant clinical improvement following the procedure. Mean volume reduction at 1 month was 29%, at 3 months 36%, at 6 month 39%, and at 1 year was 35% (Fig. 1). In 3 patients with clinical improvement, no significant quantitative improvement was noted. There were no postoperative complications or exacerbation of lymphedema.
Conclusion: Lymphaticovenular bypass using “super-microsurgical” approach appear to be effective in improving the severity of lymphedema in patients with breast cancer. Long term analysis is needed.


 

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