Background: The purpose of this manuscript is to assess the efficacy of direct lymphaticvenous microsurgery in the prevention of lymphedema following axillary dissection for breast cancer. Methods: Nineteen patients with operable breast cancer requiring an axillary dissection underwent surgery, carrying out LVA between the blue lymphatics and an axillary vein branch simultaneously. The follow-up after 6 and 12 months from the operation included circumferential measurements in all cases and lymphangioscintigraphy only in 18 patients out of 19 cases. Results: Blue nodes in relation to lymphatic arm drainage were identified in 18/19 patients. All blue nodes were resected and 2-4 main afferent lymphatics from the arm could be prepared and used for anastomoses. Lymphatic-venous anastomoses allowed to prevent lymphedema in all cases. Lymphangioscintigraphy demonstrated the patency of microvascular anastomoses. Conclusions: Disruption of the blue nodes and closure of arm lymphatics can explain the significantly high risk of lymphedema after axillary dissection. LVA proved to be a safe procedure for patients in order to prevent arm lymphedema.
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