A novel microsurgical technique in the prevention and treatment of lymphedema
Innovation and research!
Integrating lymphatic health with modern breast reconstruction techniques.
A team of plastic surgeons at UZ Gent, including Prof. Dr. Blondeel, Dr. Bernard Depypere and Prof. Dr. Van Landuyt, developed a new and straightforward microsurgical technique in the treatment or prevention of different conditions such as BCRL (breast cancer related lymphedema).
Lymphedema is defined as a chronic condition, caused by lymphostasis due to dysfunction of the lymphatic system. Two major categories exist: primary or congenital lymphedema and secondary lymphedema (trauma, surgery, infection, etc.). A major part of the latter group in the Western world consists of iatrogenic lymphedema due to cancer treatment. In the cancer-related group, the breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) accounts for the biggest part.
The incidence of BCRL is estimated between 33% and 52%, 2 years after breast cancer treatment on average. In recent years, more consideration has been given to the lymphatic system when performing surgery to the lymph nodes or lymphatic system (ie, sentinel procedure or axilla dissection for breast cancer). Surgical outcomes reported in the literature vary due to a lack of standardization of measurement methods and surgical techniques. Even though only a few clinical studies are performed, prophylactic lymphovenous anastomosis (LVA) could be beneficial in the prevention of BCRL and shows a significant reduction of lymphedema (relative risk: 0.33, confidence interval 95%). These procedures require experienced supramicrosurgeons and are time consuming, which might be the reasons why prophylactic LVA has not yet been widely implemented.
In this article, the team describes a new and straightforward technique for LVA that might be of value in popularizing LVA in the treatment or prevention of different conditions such as breast cancer-related lymphedema.
Read the full article in the link enclosed.