Massive localized lymphedema: Analysis of intraoperative care

Evan Moore, Henry Vasconez, Lesley Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Massive localized lymphedema (MLL) is rare, but as the prevalence of obesity in adults rises, it can be foreseen that cases will increase in prevalence. These patients are unable to ambulate and have uncontrollable rash and skin breakdown. Operative management for MLL is offered when nonsurgical measures are ineffective. The surgery can be difficult with ambiguous tissue planes saturated with lymphatic fluid, ill-defined margins, large arteries and dilated veins, and extensive intraoperative fluid and blood loss. We performed a retrospective chart review and analysis with a focus on the intraoperative findings and management in order to provide improved awareness and recommendations for preoperative care. We reviewed the charts of 15 patients with MLL undergoing a total of 17 surgical resections at our institution. Patients were morbidly obese with an average body mass index of 63 kg/m2 and 5.5 other medical comorbidities. Average operative time was 4.5 hours. Operative time showed a moderate correlation with increased blood loss. Operative transfusion averaged approximately 1 U per case, with 12% (2/17) of cases needing additional transfusions following surgery. An increase in operative time correlated with an increase in crystalloid infusion. In conclusion, we recommend close communication between the surgery and anesthesia teams regarding the extent of the resection and potential for fluid resuscitation and transfusions. Preoperative laboratory tests are recommended, as well as type and cross-match prior to the operation to obtain a baseline for intraoperative and postoperative monitoring. Recommendations for intraoperative management include strict input and output monitoring and aggressive fluid resuscitation with appropriate arterial and venous access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


  • MLL
  • massive localized lymphedema
  • pseudosarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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