Heterotopic vascularized lymph node transfer to the medial calf without a skin paddle for restoration of lymphatic function: Proof of concept

Mark L. Smith, Bianca J. Molina, Erez Dayan, Diane S. Saint-Victor, Julie N. Kim, Eugene S. Kahn, Alexander Kagen, Joseph H. Dayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The use of heterotopic vascularized lymph node transfer (HVLNT) for the treatment of lower extremity lymphedema is still evolving. Current techniques, either place the lymph nodes in the thigh without a skin paddle or at the ankle requiring an unsightly and often bulky skin paddle for closure. We explored the feasibility of doing a below-knee transfer without a skin paddle using the medial sural vessels as recipient vessels and report our experience in 21 patients. Methods: A retrospective review of all patients who underwent HVLNT to the medial calf was performed. Postoperative magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and lymphoscintigraphy (LS) were analyzed to assess lymph node viability and function after transfer. Results: Twenty-one patients underwent HVLNT to the medial calf. Postoperative imaging was performed at an average of 11 months after surgery. Thirteen patients had postoperative MRA, of whom 12 demonstrated viable lymph nodes. Seven patients underwent postoperative LS, of whom three demonstrated uptake in the transferred nodes. In the other four patients, the injectate failed to reach the level of the proximal calf. Conclusion: We provide proof of concept that HVLNT to the lower leg using the medial sural vessels without a skin paddle can result in viable and functional lymph nodes in the setting of lower extremity lymphedema. J. Surg. Oncol. 2017;115:90–95.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Volume115
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • heterotopic vascularized lymph node transfer
  • lymphedema
  • medial sural

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