American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Lymphedema Treatment

Surgical Options

Lymphedema is a condition characterized by painful swelling in the extremities, which can be addressed with surgical treatment options.

What words should I know about lymphedema surgery?


A common bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues resulting in swelling, pain, fevers, redness and warmth.


Complete Decongestive Therapy, also known as decongestive lymphatic therapy, incorporates a combination approach including manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), daily bandaging, exercise and skincare.

DIEP flap

Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap, which transfers skin and fat from the abdomen for breast reconstruction.

Donor site

An area of your body where the surgeon harvests skin, fat, and lymph nodes to replace missing or dysfunctional lymph nodes – commonly located in the lower abdomen or neck.

General anesthesia

Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.


Blood pooling beneath the skin.

ICG lymphography

Indocyanine Green, a drug administered by injection under the skin to assess lymphatic flow and map lymphatic vessels in the arms or legs.

Intravenous sedation

Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.


Also called suction-assisted lipectomy, this procedure vacuums fat from beneath the skin's surface to reduce fullness.

Local anesthesia

A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.


Lymphaticovenular Anastomosis, which connects small lymphatic vessels to adjacent venules to shunt excess lymphatic fluid.


Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer, which transfers skin, fat, and lymph nodes for lymphatic reconstruction.


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