Indocyanine Green Lymphographic Evidence of Surgical Efficacy Following Microsurgical and Supermicrosurgical Lymphedema Reconstructions

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Microsurgical vascularized lymph node transfer (VLNT) and supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenular anastomosis (LVA) are increasingly performed to treat lymphedema. The surgical outcome is commonly assessed by volume-based measurement (VBM), a method that is not consistently reliable. We describe indocyanine green (ICG) lymphography as an alternative postoperative tracking modality after lymphatic reconstruction with VLNT and LVA.


VLNT and LVA were performed in patients with therapy-refractory lymphedema. Patients were evaluated qualitatively by clinical assessment, quantitatively with VBM, and lymphographically using ICG lymphography. The evaluation was performed preoperatively, and at 3, 6, and 12-month postoperatively.


Overall, 21 patients underwent lymphatic reconstruction with either VLNT or LVA. All reported prompt and durable relief of symptoms during the study period. All experienced disease regression based on the Campisi criteria. Out of the 21 patients, 20 (95%) demonstrated lymphographic down staging of disease severity. Out of the 21 patients, 3 (14%) developed a paradoxical increase in limb volume based on VBM despite clinical improvement.


ICG lymphography correlated highly with patient self-assessment and clinical examination, and is an effective postoperative tracking modality after lymphatic reconstruction.

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