Prospective assessment of lymphedema incidence and lymphedema-associated symptoms following lymph node surgery for melanoma

John R. Hyngstrom, Yi Ju Chiang, Kate D. Cromwell, Merrick I. Ross, Yan Xing, Kristi S. Mungovan, Jeffrey E. Lee, Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, Richard E. Royal, Anthony Lucci, Jane M. Armer, Janice N. Cormier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

We aimed to prospectively assess limb volume change (LVC) and associated symptoms in patients with melanoma undergoing sentinel lymph node biopsy and/or therapeutic lymph node dissection. Limb volume was measured preoperatively and postoperatively at 6 and 12 months using a perometer (1000 mol/l). LVC was calculated and used to define three groups: less than 5%, 5-10%, and greater than 10%. A 19-item lymphedema symptom questionnaire was administered at baseline, 6, and 12 months. One hundred and eighty-two patients were enrolled. Twelve months after axillary surgery, 9% had LVC 5-10% and 13% had LVC greater than 10%. Twelve months after inguinofemoral surgery, 10% had LVC 5-10% and 13% had LVC greater than 10%. There was a significant seven- to nine-fold increase in symptoms for patients with LVC greater than 10% compared with those with LVC less than 5% (P<0.05). On multivariate analysis, therapeutic lymph node dissection versus sentinel lymph node biopsy (odds ratio=3.18; P<0.01) and borderline significance for lower-extremity versus upper-extremity procedures (odds ratio=1.72; P=0.07) were associated with LVC greater than 5%. LVC greater than 5% is common at 12 months following nodal surgery for melanoma and is associated with symptoms. Informed consent for melanoma patients undergoing lymph node surgery should include a discussion of the risks of postoperative lymphedema.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-297
Number of pages8
JournalMelanoma Research
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Keywords

  • lymphedema
  • melanoma
  • perometry
  • symptom assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Dermatology
  • Cancer Research

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