Outcomes of Vascularized Versus Non-Vascularized Lymph Node Transplant in Animal Models for Lymphedema. Review of the Literature

Anouk J. M. Cornelissen, Shan Shan Qiu*, Tiara Lopez Penha, Xavier Keuter, Andrzej Piatkowski de Grzymala, Stefania Tuin Der, Rene van der Hulst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Lymph node transfer has been performed to treat lymphedema for several years. The goal of this procedure is to provide a bridge between the lymphatic system distal and proximal to the lymph node dissection. There is a lack of consensus about the necessity of an additional vascular anastomosis for the transplanted lymph nodes. A systematic literature search in Cochrane Library database CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE of animal studies using lymph node transplantation with and without additional vascularization was performed in March 2016. The strategy used for the search was: (("Models, Animal"[Mesh]) AND (("Lymphedema"[Mesh]) OR " Lymph Nodes"[Mesh]) OR "Lymph Node Excision"[Mesh])) AND ((vascularized lymph node transfer) OR ((non-vascularized lymph node transfer) OR lymph node graft)). The primary outcomes were: survival of transplanted lymph node and lymphatic vessel regeneration. Sixteen studies were included. Vascularization and the use of growth factors were significantly associated with lymph node survival. Lymphatic vessels regeneration was independent from vascularization. According to the results of the current study, additional vascular anastomosis might improve the transplanted lymph node survival. Further studies in both experimental and clinical setting are needed in order to support it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-36
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • systematic review
  • lymph node transfer
  • lymphedema
  • lymph node survival

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