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In severe lymphedema, indocyanine green lymphography cannot be used to map lymphatic channels before lymphaticovenular anastomosis (LVA) because linear lymphatics cannot be detected in a severely affected leg. Here, we describe a new method, which we refer to as predictive lymphatic mapping, to predict the location of lymphatics for anastomosis in unilateral lymphedema, thereby improving surgical accuracy and efficiency. The approach consists of marking anatomical landmarks and joining selected landmarks with fixed lines. The distance from these fixed lines to lymphatic channels mapped by indocyanine green lymphography in the unaffected leg is then measured, scaled up based on the difference in circumference between the legs, and transposed to the affected leg. To date, we have used this method in 5 cases of unilateral or asymmetric lymphedema of the lower extremities. In no cases have we failed to find a lymphatic channel suitable for LVA within a 2-cm incision. These results suggest that predictive lymphatic mapping is a useful additional tool for surgeons performing LVA under local anesthesia, which will help to improve the accuracy of incisions and the efficiency of surgery.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Plast Surg

Publication Date





706 - 710


Adult, Aged, Coloring Agents, Female, Humans, Indocyanine Green, Lymphatic Vessels, Lymphedema, Middle Aged