Global Health & Medicine 2020;2(4):227-234.

Lymphedema secondary to melanoma treatments: diagnosis, evaluation, and treatments

AriƩ A, Yamamoto T


Approximately 300,000 new cases of melanoma are annually diagnosed in the world. Advanced stage melanomas require sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), sometimes lymph node dissections (LND). The development rate of lower extremity lymphedema ranges from 7.6% to 35.1% after inguinal SLNB, and from 48.8% to 82.5% after inguinal LND. Development rate of upper extremity lymphedema ranges from 4.4% to 14.6% after axillary LND. Lymphedema management has constantly improved but effective evaluation and surgical management such as supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenular anastomosis (LVA) are becoming common as minimally invasive lymphatic surgery. Diagnosis and new classification using indocyanine green lymphography allowing pre-clinical secondary lymphedema stage management are improving effectiveness of supermicrosurgical LVA and vascularized lymph node transfer. Lymphatic transfer with lymph-interpositional-flap can restore lymph flow after large oncologic excision even without performing lymphatic anastomosis. Since lymphatic reconstructive surgery may affect local to systemic dissemination of remnant tumor cells, careful consideration is required to evaluate indication of surgical treatments.

KEYWORDS: lymphedema, melanoma, anastomosis, lymph node, supermicrosurgery

DOI: 10.35772/ghm.2020.01022

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