Department of Surgical Research & Transplantology, Medical Research Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, 5 Pawinskiego Str., 02-106 Warsaw, Poland. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The use of microsurgical lymphovenous shunts is one of the generally accepted treatments for limblymphedema.
The 45-year personal experience of one surgeon in indications, technique and results of lymphovenous shunt operations in lower limb lymphedema of varying etiology is presented.
One thousand three hundred patients were followed up in the period 1966-2011. Patients were classified into groups according to the etiology of lymphedema as postinflammatory/posttraumatic, postsurgical, idiopathic and hyperplastic. Decrease in limb circumference, heaviness and pain, and increase in joint flexing were evaluated.
The most satisfactory results, reaching 80-100% improvement, were obtained in the congenital non-hereditary hyperplastic lymphedema group, with large lymphatics not previously damaged by infection. Results were also satisfactory in the group of cancer patients after iliac lymphadenectomy, reaching 80%. A less satisfactory outcome was observed in the postinflammatory group, not exceeding 30-40%. In idiopathic lymphedema results were satisfactory in only a few cases.
Patients with lymphedema with local segmental obstruction but still partly patent distal lymphatics and without an active inflammatory process in the skin, subcutaneous tissue and lymph vessels present satisfactory results.