Microsurgical techniques for lymphedema treatment: Derivative lymphatic-venous microsurgery

Corradino Campisi, Francesco Boccardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyzed clinicopathologic and imaging features of chronic peripheral lymphedema to identify imaging findings indicative of its exact etiopathogenesis and to establish the optimal treatment strategy. One of the main problems of microsurgery for lymphedema is the discrepancy between the excellent technical possibilities and the subsequently insufficient reduction of the lymphedematous tissue fibrosis and sclerosis. Appropriate treatment based on pathologic studies and surgical outcome have not been adequately documented. Over the past 25 years, 676 patients with peripheral lymphedema have been treated with microsurgical lymphatic-venous anastomoses. Of these patients, 447 (66%) were available for long-term follow-up study. Objective assessment was undertaken by water volumetry and lymphoscintigraphy. Objectively, volume changes showed a significant improvement in 561 patients (83%), with an average reduction of 67% of the excess volume. Of the 447 patients followed, 380 (85%) have been able to discontinue the use of conservative measures, with an average follow-up of more than 7 years and average reduction in excess volume of 69%. There was an 87% reduction in the incidence of cellulitis after microsurgery. Microsurgical lymphatic-venous anastomoses have a place in the treatment of peripheral lymphedema and should be the therapy of choice in patients who are not sufficiently responsive to nonsurgical treatment. Improved results can be expected with operations performed early, during the first stages of lymphedema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-613
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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