Breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) represents a global healthcare issue affecting the emotional and life quality of breast cancer survivors significantly. The clinical presentation is characterized by swelling of the affected upper limb, that may be accompanied by atrophic skin findings, pain and recurrent cellulitis. Cardinal principles of lymphedema management are the use of complex decongestive therapy and patient education. Recently, new microsurgery procedures have been reported with interesting results, bringing in a new opportunity to care postmastectomy lymphedema. However, many aspects of the disease are still debated in the medical community, including clinical examination, imaging techniques, patient selection and proper treatment. Here we will review these aspects and the current literature.
- Breast cancer
- Lymphatic microsurgery
- Vascularized lymph node transfer
- Lymphaticovenous anastomosis