Department of Lymphology, Centre National de Référence des Maladies Vasculaires Rares (lymphœdèmes primaires), Hôpital Cognacq-Jay, 15, rue Eugène Millon, 75015 Paris, France. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study aims to assess potential complications of autologous lymph-node transplantation (ALNT) to treat limb lymphoedema.
Prospective, observational study.
All limb-lymphoedema patients, followed up in a single lymphology department, who decided to undergo ALNT (January 2004-June 2012) independently of our medical team, were included.
Among the 26 patients (22 females, four males) included, 14 had secondary upper-limb lymphoedema after breast-cancer treatment and seven had secondary and five primary lower-limb lymphoedema. Median (interquartile range, IQR) ages at primary lower-limb lymphoedema and secondary lymphoedema onset were 18.5 (13-30) and 47.4 (35-58) years, respectively. Median body mass index (BMI) was 25.9 (22.9-29.3) kg m(-2). For all patients, median pre-surgery lymphoedema duration was 37 (24-90) months. Thirty-four ALNs were transplanted into the 26 patients, combined with liposuction in four lower-limb-lymphoedema patients. Ten (38%) patients developed 15 complications: six, chroniclymphoedema (four upper limb, two lower limb), defined as ≥2-cm difference versus the contralateral side, in the limb on the donor lymph-node-site territory, persisting for a median of 40 months post-ALNT; four, post-surgical lymphocoeles; one testicular hydrocoele requiring surgery; and four with persistent donor-site pain. Median (IQR) pre- and post-surgicallymphoedema volumes, calculated using the formula for a truncated cone, were, respectively, 1023 (633-1375) ml (median: 3 (1-6) months) and 1058 (666-1506) ml (median: 40 (14-72) months; P = 0.73).
CONCLUSION:ALNT may engender severe, chronic complications, particularly persistent iatrogenic lymphoedema. Further investigations are required to evaluate and clearly determine its indications.