Reverse Lymph Node Mapping Using Indocyanine Green Lymphography: A Step Forward in Minimizing Donor-Site Morbidity in Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer

Pons, Gemma M.D., Ph.D.; Abdelfattah, Usama M.D.; Sarria, Jose M.D.; Duch, Joan M.D., Ph.D.; Masia, Jaume M.D., Ph.D.

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Reverse lymphatic mapping before harvesting a lymph node flap is crucial to avoid donor-site lymphedema; however, the technique is complex and unavailable in many centers. The authors introduce radioisotope-free reverse lymphatic mapping using indocyanine green and Patent Blue dye.

The authors conducted a prospective study in patients undergoing free vascularized groin lymph node transfer for postmastectomy upper extremity lymphedema. The day before surgery, 0.2 ml of technetium-99 was injected into the first and second web spaces of the ipsilateral foot. The following day, once the patient was anesthetized, indocyanine green was injected into the same web spaces of the same foot and Patent Blue dye was injected just proximal to the upper margin of the skin paddle of the lymph node flap. The main lymph nodes draining the limb were localized using indocyanine green lymphography and gamma probe.

Reverse lymphatic mapping using indocyanine green lymphography provides identical results to those using technetium-99 isotope scanning. However, indocyanine green is preferable in terms of safety and reproducibility and also avoids the complexity and hazards of radioisotope mapping.


Jasmine Walter

Content Editor, Mark Allen Group

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