Lymphatic mapping and preoperative imaging in the management of post-mastectomy lymphoedema
Early detection and diagnosis of upper extremity lymphoedema in patients after mastectomy and axillary lymph node clearance is important in order to treat disease before it is too advanced to achieve favourable outcomes. Patients with disease refractory to conservative management can be efficiently assessed for diagnosis and surgical intervention using advanced lymphatic imaging techniques. The current paper highlights the more readily available of these: lymphoscintigraphy, indocyanine green (ICG) lymphangiography and immunofluorescence, magnetic resonance lymphangiography (MRL) and computed tomographic lymphangiography in combination or individually. With such techniques, both diagnosis and treatment of lymphoedema has become more readily achieved, with lymphatico-venous and lymphatico-lymphatic anastomosis, and lymph node transfer now increasingly common undertakings.