Lymphatico-venous anastomosis as treatment for breast cancer-related lymphedema: a prospective study on quality of life

Anouk J. M. Cornelissen, Melissa Kool, Tiara R. Lopez Penha, Xavier H. A. Keuter, Andrzej A. Piatkowski, E. Heuts, Rene R. W. J. van der Hulst, Shan Shan Qiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Lymphedema is a chronic and disabling sequel of breast cancer treatment that can be treated by lymphatico-venous anastomosis (LVA). Artificial connections between the venous and lymphatic system are performed supermicrosurgically. This prospective study analyses the effect of LVA on quality of life.

A prospective study was performed between November 2015 and July 2016 on consecutive patients in the Maastricht University Medical Centre. Quality of life was considered as the primary outcome, and the Lymphedema International Classification of Functioning (Lymph-ICF) questionnaire was used. Discontinuation of compressive stockings and arm volume, using the Upper Extremity Lymphedema index (UEL-index), were the secondary outcomes.

Twenty women with early-stage breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) were included. The mean age was 55.9 +/- 4 years and the median BMI was 25.1 [21-30] kg/m(2). The mean follow-up was 7.8 +/- 1.5 months. Statistically significant improvement in quality of life was achieved in the total score and for all the quality of life domains after one year of follow-up (p <0.05). The discontinuation rate in compressive stockings use was 85%. The difference in mean relative volume did not show a statistically significant decrease.

LVA for early-stage BCRL resulted in a significant improvement in quality of life and a high rate in stocking discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Lymphedema
  • Quality of life
  • Lymphatico-venous anastomosis

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