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J Reconstr Microsurg. 2014 Jan;30(1):41-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1351668. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

The use of magnetic resonance angiography in vascularized groin lymph node transfer: an anatomic study.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York.
Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York.
Division of Reconstructive Microsurgery, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Vascularized groin lymph node transfer (VGLNT) has been successfully used to treat lymphedema. However, lack of familiarity with the inguinal node anatomy and concerns regarding donor site morbidity have limited its widespread use. The purpose of this study was to use magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) to clarify the inguinal anatomy and provide a reliable method for identifying the location of the superficial transverse inguinal lymph nodes. In this study MRA was used to evaluate the superficial inguinal lymph nodes in 117 patients. Coordinates of lymph nodes were plotted relative to an axis from the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) to the pubic tubercle (PT). The nodes were also plotted relative to the superficial circumflex iliac vein (SCIV) and superficial inferior epigastric vein (SIEV). A total of 1,938 lymph nodes were identified. These lymph nodes were concentrated on one-third the distance from the PT toward the ASIS and 3 cm perpendicularly below this line. About 67% of the superficial inguinal nodes were located within the bifurcation of the SIEV and SCIV. The results from this study provide useful guidelines for locating lymph nodes targeted for VGLNT.

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