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Lymphovenous anastomosis (LVA) is primarily used for treating early-stage lymphedema. Here, we aimed to investigate the relationship between lymphatic flow velocity and the efficacy of LVA in breast cancer-related lymphedema patients. To this end, we assessed the transit velocity of lymphatic fluid using indocyanine green (ICG) lymphography and radioisotope lymphoscintigraphy. We retrospectively examined patients diagnosed with breast cancer-related lymphedema who underwent LVA from January to December 2020. Patient data, including demographics, clinical stage, and postoperative surgical outcomes, were collected from electronic medical records. ICG lymphography results and dynamic lymphoscintigrams were analyzed to measure the lymphatic flow velocity and to determine the grade of the limb lymphedemas. Eighty patients (all female, mean age of 53.6 years) were included. The lymphatic flow velocity ranged between 0.58 and 21.5 cm/min (average, 7.61 cm/min); 37 (46.3%), 18 (22.5%), 15 (18.8%), and 10 (12.5%) arm lymphedemas were classified as lymphoscintigraphy grade 0, 1, 2, and 3, respectively. A significant association was observed between lymphatic flow velocity and lymphedema grade determined using lymphoscintigraphy and between the amount of volume reduction after LVA and preoperative lymphatic flow velocity (P < 0.05). Our findings suggest that lymphatic flow velocity is positively correlated with surgical outcomes in patients undergoing LVA. Therefore, surgical treatment plans for lymphedema should not be based only on the International Society of Lymphedema stage, because advanced-stage lymphedema patients with high ICG velocities can benefit from LVA alone. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to The Japanese Breast Cancer Society.


Joseph Kyu-Hyung Park, Junggyo Seo, Eun Joo Yang, Yusuhn Kang, Chan Yeong Heo, Yujin Myung. Association of lymphatic flow velocity with surgical outcomes in patients undergoing lymphovenous anastomosis for breast cancer-related lymphedema. Breast cancer (Tokyo, Japan). 2022 Sep;29(5):835-843

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PMID: 35553019

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