Lymphedema is often diagnosed by its characteristic clinical presentation. In some cases, however, instrumental investigations are necessary to establish the diagnosis, particularly in early stages of the disease. One of the primary problems for microsurgery in treating lymphedema consists of the discrepancy between the excellent technical possibilities and the insufficient results in reduction of lymphedematous tissue fibrosis and sclerosis. Long-term results indicate that microsurgical operations have a valuable place in the treatment of obstructive lymphedema (primary or secondary) and should be the treatment of choice in these patients. Improved results can be expected with earlier microsurgical operations because patients referred earlier usually have less lymphatic disruption and fibrotic tissue. Advanced diagnostic methods and improvements in operation techniques have modified indications for surgical therapy of lymphedema. This article systematically reviews the published literature on the microsurgical treatment of lymphedema to the present.
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