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Surgical management of male genital lymphedema: A systematic review
Genital lymphedema (GL) is an uncommon and disabling disease that manifests as enlargement of the genital region resulting from the disturbance of lymphatic drainage. Although conservative treatment such as decompression is typically the first-line approach, surgical intervention has been shown to be effective in certain cases. This study aimed to systematically review studies evaluating available surgical alternatives for the treatment of male GL. A systematic search strategy using keyword and subject headings was applied to PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library in May 2019. Studies investigating various surgical techniques to treat penile and scrotal lymphedema were included. The potential risk of bias of included trials was evaluated using the methodological index for non-randomized studies (MINORS). In total, 13 studies met the inclusion criteria, nine of which were determined to be high-quality. The average MINORS score was 12.45 for studies involving excision and 14 for studies involving lymphovenous anastomosis (LVA). The most common reason for a low score was a failure to describe the inclusion criteria. Recurrence of lymphedema during follow-up was reported in four studies involving excision and in no studies involving LVA. In general, the quality of the included literature was considered to be fair. Although surgical intervention might not always prevent the recurrence of lymphedema, all of the studies reported improved quality of life after the procedure. This study could be used as the basis for evidence-based guidelines to be applied in clinical practice for managing male GL.
Year of Publication
Archives of Plastic Surgery
Number of Pages