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Microvasc Res. 2009 May;77(3):335-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2009.01.005. Epub 2009 Jan 27.

MR imaging of the lymphatic system in patients with lipedema and lipo-lymphedema.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University Hospital of Freiburg, Hugstetter Strasse 55, D-79106, Freiburg i. Br., Germany. christian.lohrmann@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess for the first time the morphology of the lymphatic system in patients with lipedema and lipo-lymphedema of the lower extremities by MR lymphangiography.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

26 lower extremities in 13 consecutive patients (5 lipedema, 8 lipo-lymphedema) were examined by MR lymphangiography. 18 mL of gadoteridol and 1 mL of mepivacainhydrochloride 1% were subdivided into 10 portions and injected intracutaneously in the forefoot. MR imaging was performed with a 1.5-T system equipped with high-performance gradients. For MR lymphangiography, a 3D-spoiled gradient-echo sequence was used. For evaluation of the lymphedema a heavily T2-weighted 3D-TSE sequence was performed.

RESULTS:

In all 16 lower extremities (100%) with lipo-lymphedema, high signal intensity areas in the epifascial region could be detected on the 3D-TSE sequence. In the 16 examined lower extremities with lipo-lymphedema, 8 lower legs and 3 upper legs demonstrated enlarged lymphatic vessels up to a diameter of 3 mm. In two lower legs with lipo-lymphedema, an area of dermal back-flow was seen, indicating lymphatic outflow obstruction. In the 10 examined lower extremities with clinically pure lipedema, 4 lower legs and 2 upper legs demonstrated enlarged lymphatic vessels up to a diameter of 2 mm, indicating a subclinical status of lymphedema. In all examined extremities, the inguinal lymph nodes demonstrated a contrast material enhancement in the first image acquisition 15 min after injection.

CONCLUSION:

MR lymphangiography is a safe and accurate minimal-invasive imaging modality for the evaluation of the lymphatic circulation in patients with lipedema and lipo-lymphedema of the lower extremities. If the extent of lymphatic involvement is unclear at the initial clinical examination or requires a better definition for optimal therapeutic planning, MR lymphangiography is able to identify the anatomic and physiological derangements and to establish an objective baseline.

PMID:
19323976
DOI:
10.1016/j.mvr.2009.01.005
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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