Turkish Journal of Surgery

Turkish Journal of Surgery

ISSN: 2564-6850
e-ISSN: 2564-7032


Oğuz Kayıran1,2, Carolyn De La Cruz3, Kaori Tane1, Atilla Soran1

1Division of Breast Surgery and Lymphedema Program, Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA
2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltalimani Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey
3Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA


Lymphedema is a chronic and progressive disorder resulting from impaired lymphatic system function. In developed countries, upper extremity lymphedema is mainly the consequence of breast cancer surgery in which axillary lymph node dissection and radiation alter upper extremity lymphatic flow.
Diagnosis of lymphedema is made clinically. Nevertheless, there are numerous diagnostic tools available for disease staging. Recently, a new technology namely magnetic resonance lymphangiography has emerged in the medical field to assist in both diagnosis and management.
There are non-surgical and surgical treatment options available. Non-surgical methods are always the first-line treatment; however, surgical options can be explored in appropriate patients. Recent studies focus on the prevention of lymphedema using surgical techniques utilizing axillary reverse mapping to delineate arm lymphatics from axillary lymphatics.
Finding the most suitable technique for each type of lymphedema with variable stages is one of the most complicated decisions for practitioners. More studies are needed to reveal the exact biology of lymphedema to ensure complete understanding of the disease and improve outcomes.

Keywords: Diagnosis, lymphedema, treatment

Cite this paper as: Kayıran O, De La Cruz C, Tane K, Soran A. Lymphedema: From diagnosis to treatment. Turk J Surg 2017; 33(2): 51-57


Peer Review

Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions

Concept - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Design - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Supervision - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Resource - O.K., C.D.L.A.,, K.T., A.T.; Materials - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Data Collection and/or Processing - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Analysis and/or Interpretation - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Literature Search - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Writing Manuscript - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T., A.T.; Critical Reviews - O.K., C.D.L.A., K.T. ,A.T.

Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest was declared by the authors

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.