What is included in preoperative care of lymphedema?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Prior to surgery, appropriate documentation is necessary to evaluate the outcome of treatment. This includes photographic documentation as well as extremity measurements. Ideally, these measurements are of limb volume by water displacement, although some rely on circumferential measurements alone. Obtain measurements and photographs at the same time of day each time, document affected extremities and contralateral extremities, and preferably conduct documentation in the morning after extremity elevation in bed overnight.

Institute strict elevation and pneumatic compression, if available, 24-72 hours prior to surgery. This allows maximum excision to be performed. The extremity must also be free of infection at the time of surgery; a single dose of preoperative intravenous antibiotic is administered.

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