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Background: Lymphaticovenular anastomosis has become an increasingly common treatment for lymphedema. Supermicrosurgical techniques are essential for the successful performance of lymphaticovenular anastomosis. A positive correlation between the number of lymphaticovenular anastomoses performed and therapeutic efficacy has been reported, and in performing these anastomoses, the establishment of as many bypasses as possible is important.

Methods: Forty limbs of 20 patients with lower extremity lymphedema who underwent lymphaticovenular anastomosis in our department were assessed. All cases were performed under local anesthesia using two to four surgical microscopes. A new method of anastomosis, lambda-shaped anastomosis assisted by intravascular stenting, was chosen in required cases.

Results: Lymphaticovenular anastomoses resulted in 186 anastomoses on 20 patients with lower extremity lymphedema; the average number of anastomoses per case was 9.3 (range, five to 18). The number of surgical microscopes used ranged from two to four (average, 3.3), and the duration of the operation ranged from 3 to 5 hours (average, 4.1). In the cases of lambda-shaped anastomosis (n = 11), the number of anastomoses was significantly greater than in the cases without lambda-shaped anastomosis (n = 9; 10.2 /- 2.3 versus 8.2 /- 1.4; p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Lambda-shaped anastomosis assisted by intravascular stenting is a safe and relatively easy method that can be performed by surgeons with less than 1 year of experience in microsurgery. This in turn allows efficient lymphaticovenular anastomoses to be performed simultaneously by a team of surgeons, resulting in an increased number of bypasses.

(C)2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons