Edema and Related Medical Conditions

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pathophysiology and treatment of edema following femoropopliteal bypass surgery.

Pathophysiology and treatment of edema following femoropopliteal bypass surgery.

Sept  2012


Department of Surgery, Amphia Hospital, Breda.


Substantial lower-limb edema affects the majority of patients who undergo peripheral bypass surgery. Edema has impairing effects on the microvascular and the macrovascular circulation, causes discomfort and might delay the rehabilitation process of the patient. However, the pathophysiology of this edema is not well understood. The Cochrane Library and Medline were used to retrieve literature on edema following peripheral bypass surgery. Factors other than local wound healing alone are suggested in the literature to play a role, given the severity and duration of this edema. Hyperemia, microvascular permeability, reperfusion-associated inflammation and lymphatic disruptions are likely to facilitate the development of edema

Preventive methods could be lymphatic-sparing surgery, intraoperative antioxidative therapy and postoperative elevation. Successful treatment strategies to reduce postoperative edema are based on lymph massage and external compression. 

In conclusion, the pathophysiology of edema following peripheral surgery is not fully understood, although reperfusion-associated inflammation and lymphatic disruptions are likely to play a crucial role. When future less-invasive techniques prove to be successful, postoperative edema might be minimized. Until then, a careful lymphatic-sparing dissection should be executed when performing a peripheral bypass reconstruction. Postoperatively, the use of compression stockings and leg elevation are currently the golden standards.

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