Supermicrosurgical Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis as an Alternative Treatment Option for Patients with Lymphorrhea

Johnson Chia Shen Yang, Yuan Hao Yen, Shao Chun Wu, Wei Che Lin, Min Hsien Chiang, Ching Hua Hsieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Lymphorrhea is probably the most appalling form of lymphedema and is difficult to treat. Intractable lymphorrhea is prone to infection because of skin breakdown. It is believed that supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenous anastomosis is unsuitable for treating such severe disease. Only a few lymphorrhea patients treated with lymphaticovenous anastomosis have been reported. Whether it can be used to treat lymphorrhea has remained inconclusive. Methods: From September of 2015 to June of 2018, 105 patients underwent supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenous anastomosis (n = 746) in the authors' hospital. These patients are divided into the nonlymphorrhea group (three male and seven female patients) and the nonlymphedema group (lymphedema patients without lymphorrhea) (11 male and 84 female patients). Retrospective chart review with demographic data and intraoperative findings were recorded and analyzed. Post-lymphaticovenous anastomosis outcomes for lymphorrhea patients were also recorded. Results: No significant differences were found in patient age, sex, or affected limbs between these two groups. As for intraoperative findings, no differences were found in the percentage of indocyanine green-enhanced lymphatic vessels (52.7 ± 41.1 percent versus 67.3 ± 36.7 percent; p = 0.227) or the pathologic changes of lymphatic vessels based on the normal, ectasis, contraction, and sclerosis type classification (2.2 ± 1.0 versus 2.1 ± 1.0; p = 0.893) between the lymphorrhea and nonlymphorrhea groups, respectively. The average follow-up period was 14.5 months (range, 3 to 31 months). Five lymphorrhea patients (50 percent) showed complete recovery without relapse; significant lymphorrhea reduction was found in three patients (30 percent), and two patients showed minimal improvements (20 percent). Conclusion: With comparable functional lymphatic vessels identified in lymphorrhea patients, supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenous anastomosis is a viable option for lymphorrhea treatment, with satisfactory results. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1214-1224
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 01 11 2019

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© 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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