Abdominoplasty with Lymphatic Microsurgery for Patients with Secondary Lower Extremity Lymphedema

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Abstract

Background:

Patients with secondary lower extremity lymphedema often develop suprapubic lymphedema. The authors developed a novel surgical method of shaping the lower abdomen and debulking suprapubic lymphedema with simultaneous reconstruction of lymphatic flow in case of lower extremity lymphedema.

Methods:

A fleur-de-lis skin incision pattern was performed for horizontal and vertical abdominal skin and fat resection. A caudally based isosceles triangular flap was created on the central suprapubic region to reduce wound tension at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical incisions. After resection and debulking of the suprapubic region, a lymphaticovenular anastomosis between the efferent lymphatic vessel of the groin node and the superficial inferior epigastric vein was created or vascularized lymph node transfer to the groin region was performed to restore lymphatic flow. Lymphaticovenular anastomosis and lymph node transfer were also performed at the lower extremities to improve lower extremity lymphedema. Perioperative change in limb volume was evaluated using the lower extremity lymphedema index, and lymphatic function was evaluated by lymphoscintigraphy.

Results:

Simultaneous abdominoplasty and reconstructive lymphatic microsurgery were performed in 11 patients. The lower extremity lymphedema index improved perioperatively, with a significant difference (p < 0.01). In eight patients who underwent lymphoscintigraphy before and after surgery, the lymphatic function was found to have not deteriorated in any limb.

Conclusions:

When simultaneous lymphatic microsurgical procedures and careful observation for complications were performed, abdominoplasty resulted in good outcomes in patients with lower extremity lymphedema and suprapubic lymphedema without worsening of lymphedema.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, V.

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