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Lower extremity lymphedema in patients with gynecologic malignancies
  1. Kimberly Dessources1,
  2. Emeline Aviki1 and
  3. Mario M Leitao Jr1,2
  1. 1 Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, New York, USA
  2. 2 Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mario M Leitao Jr, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY 10065, USA; leitaom{at}


Lower extremity lymphedema is a chronic, often irreversible condition that affects many patients treated for gynecologic malignancies, with published rates as high as 70% in select populations. It has consistently been shown to affect multiple quality of life metrics. This review focuses on the pathophysiology, incidence, trends, and risk factors associated with lower extremity lymphedema secondary to the treatment of cervical, endometrial, ovarian, and vulvar cancers in the era of sentinel lymph node mapping. We review traditional and contemporary approaches to diagnosis and staging, and discuss new technologies and imaging modalities. Finally, we review the data-based treatment of lower extremity lymphedema and discuss experimental treatments currently being developed. This review highlights the need for more prospective studies and objective metrics, so that we may better evaluate and serve these patients.

  • surgical oncology
  • vulvar and vaginal cancer
  • uterine cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • brachytherapy

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conception and design, drafting, and critical revision of this manuscript. All authors have given final approval of this version to be published, and all authors accept responsibility for its contents.

  • Funding This study was funded in part through the NIH/NCI Support Grant P30 CA008748.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.