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International Angiology 2021 April;40(2):143-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-9590.20.04486-7


language: English

Impact on lower limb lymphedema of pelvic lymphadenectomy with external iliac lymph nodes left-opened distal lymphatics technique

Wenjie ZENG 1, Rui WANG 2, Weijia YING 3, Wanwan XU 4, Xiaofeng ZHAO 5

1 Department of Gynecology, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, Hangzhou Medical College, People’s Hospital, Hangzhou, China; 2 Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu, China; 3 Zhejiang Chinese University Hospital, Hangzhou, China; 4 The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Yiwu, China; 5 Women’s Hospital School of Medicine Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of maintaining opened distal lymphatic vessels of external iliac lymph nodes on lymphedema and lymphocyst formation of lower limbs after pelvic lymphadenectomy.
METHODS: Prospective single center observational study was carried out in 83 patients with gynecological malignancies who underwent pelvic lymphadenectomy. During the operation, the distal lymphatic vessels of the external iliac lymph nodes were cut off by an ultrasound scalpel or scissors, and the proximal end was closed by bipolar coagulation. The patients were re-examined by a physical examination, ultrasound examination and inquiry of the symptoms within 2 years after the operation to check whether they had lower limb lymphedema and to analyze the presence of lymphedema and lymphocyst of lower limbs and the risk.
RESULTS: The incidence of lower limb lymphedema (LLL) was 21.6% (18/83). Among the patients with LLL, 5.5% (1/18) was diagnosed with stage 0 according to the criteria of International Society of Lymphology, 83.3% (15/18) with stage 1, and 11.1% (2/18) with stage 2. Presently, there was no lymphedema diagnosed at stage 3. The incidence of lymphocyst was 7.2% (6/83). Among the patients with lymphocyst, 3.6% (3/83) occurred 1 month after operation, 2.4% (2/83) occurred 3 months after operation and 1.2% (1/83) occurred 6 months after operation. Patients with radiotherapy and abdominal infection were more likely to suffer from LLL (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Maintaining opened distal lymphatic vessels of external iliac lymph nodes during pelvic lymphadenectomy is feasible, safe and with a 21.6% and 7.2% of potential lymphedema and lymphocists, respectively.

KEY WORDS: Lymphatic vessels; Lymphedema; Lymphocele; Lower extremity; Lymph node excision

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