Assessment and follow-up of patency after lymphovenous microsurgery for treatment of secondary lymphedema in external male genital organs

Sylvain M. Mukenge, Marco Catena, Daniela Negrini, Francesca Ratti, Andrea Moriondo, Alberto Briganti, Patrizio Rigatti, Federica Cipriani, Gianfranco Ferla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Secondary lymphedema of external male genital organs is a frequent complication of pelvic radical surgery following pelvic lymphadenectomy. Microsurgical lymphovenous anastomoses are usually performed using only the superficial scrotal lymphatics, excluding testicular lymphatic drainage. We have experimented using a new microsurgical technique based on lymphovenous anastomosis between the collectors of the spermatic funiculus and the veins of the pampiniform plexus, allowing testicular lymphatic drainage. The study included 11 patients with external genital organ lymphedema, five of whom were subjected to microsurgical lymphovenous derivation. At 3, 6, and 12 mo after surgery, the patency of lymphovenous anastomoses was assessed by noninvasive lymphography using indocyanine green fluorescence images obtained with the Photodynamic Eye (PDE) infrared camera system (Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., Hamamatsu, Japan). Progressive improvement of clinical conditions was assessed both by patients' self evaluation and by objective clinical follow-up based on: (1) PDE lymphography, (2) tomography of the pubic area, (3) recovery of the soft consistency of the scrotal tissue, (4) recovery of the scrotal skin normochromic aspect, (5) absence of pain, and (6) disappearance of edema with evident reduction of the scrotal and penile dimensions and normal palpability of the testis. The present study shows that lymphovenous anastomosis is a valuable method of resolving the edematous condition. The indocyanine green approach for lymphangiography is a very supportive method during follow-up because, with the least invasive approach, it is possible to ascertain the complete patency of the anastomosis, to confirm its localization, and to assess its lymphatic drainage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1119
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Indocyanine green fluorescence
  • Lymphedema
  • Lymphovenous anastomosis
  • Male genital organ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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