We report on the modern surgical management of peripheral lymphedema. An adequate diagnostic route is essential: it has to include patient history and clinical examination, an isotopic lymphography, an accurate study of the venous circulation, and in cases of angiodysplasia, an accurate study of the artery circulation. Based on over 25 years of clinical experience (more than 1,000 patients), the role of derivative and (in those cases where a venous disease is associated with lymphostatic pathology) reconstructive lymphatic microsurgery is particularly underlined, in comparison with conservative medico-physical treatment, to which it is complementary. "Debulking" surgery can be used just in properly selected patients for minor operations with only cosmethic-reductive purposes. With a follow-up even over 15 years after surgery, positive results from lymphatic microsurgery can be achieved in more than 80% of cases, especially in patients at precocious stages.
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