Treatment of Upper Extremity Lymphedema following Chemotherapy and Radiation for Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer

Szpalski C, et al. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open 2020.


In the industrialized world, the most common cause of secondary lymphedema is iatrogenic. The inciting event is generally a combination of lymph node resection, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Although a regional nodal dissection is often the primary risk factor, lymphedema can also result from sentinel node dissections, or as in the case presented without any surgical resection. Here, we present a unique case of upper extremity lymphedema resulting from definitive chemoradiation for

squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The patient was treated using a combined approach with a lymphaticovenular anastomosis and a free vascularized inguinal lymph node transfer.