Targeting Reflux-Free Veins with a Vein Visualizer to Identify the Ideal Recipient Vein Preoperatively for Optimal Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis in Treating Lymphedema

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Lymphaticovenous anastomosis is one of the main surgical treatments nowadays for alleviating lymphedema. A successful lymphaticovenous anastomosis relies on being able to identify “functional” lymphatic collecting vessels that are still capable of transporting lymph, and a nearby vein that is, ideally, reflux-free. This is a retrospective study. A total of 28 lymphedema patients were enrolled from October of 2016 to March of 2017 in Kaohsiung Chang Gung Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A noninvasive vein visualizer was used to preselect reflux-free veins for lymphaticovenous anastomosis from five female patients. As a control, the total number of veins used for lymphaticovenous anastomoses without the use of a vein visualizer from 23 consecutive lymphedema patients was also recorded and compared. In the experimental group, a total of 12 of 13 veins (92 percent sensitivity) preselected by using the VeinViewer were confirmed to be reflux-free intraoperatively during lymphaticovenous anastomosis. In the control group, 21 of 56 veins (37.5 percent sensitivity) showed no venous reflux. Statistical analysis with the chi-square test showed a value of p < 0.001 (number needed to treat = 2.706). The odds of identifying reflux-free veins can be increased significantly with the use of a vein visualizer.


Diagnostic, II.

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