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Ann Plast Surg. 2011 Dec;67(6):589-93. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e3181f88e8a.

Vascularized lymph node transfer based on the hilar perforators improves the outcome in upper limb lymphedema.

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Plastic Surgery Department, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.



Maintenance of the blood supply to the lymph nodes is necessary for survival and function. We report the outcome of vascularized lymph node transfer with hilar perforators compared with the conventional technique.


A total of 21 patients affected by early stage II upper limb lymphedema were included in this study. Of them, 11 patients received a free groin flap containing lymph nodes, and 10 patients received vascularized inguinal lymph nodes with hilar perforators. Mean follow-up was 46 and 40 months, respectively. Complications, secondary procedures, circumference of the limb, and subjective symptomatology were registered. The differences were evaluated statistically.


The limb circumferences decreased significantly in the new group. The number of secondary procedures was significantly higher in the standard group. There were 2 cases of partial flap loss and donor site lymphorrhea in the standard group. In both the groups, visual analog scale scores improved after the operation.


Transfer of vascularized inguinal lymph nodes based on the hilar perforators improves the outcomes in the treatment of early lymphedema of the upper extremity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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