Pelvic lymphedema: Truth or fiction?
Med Hypotheses. 2008 Dec 9
Vannelli A, Battaglia L, Poiasina E, Leo E.
Division of General Surgery B Foundation IRCCS “National Institute of Tumour”, Lymphology La Statale University, Milan, Via Venezian 1, 20133 Milan, Italy.
Pelvis is a functional shell-like unit consisting of the pelvic floor and perineum. The patients, who underwent a radical operation of the pelvis due to an oncological disease, often develop pelvic disorders. These disorders do not depend on the type of surgery or any presence of postoperative treatment (radio- and chemotherapy). The reason for this is still mostly unknown. These disorders without an appropriate treatment of rehabilitation always result in the following symptoms: fatty tissue hypertrophy and fibrosis as well as functional chronic disorders. Lymphedema is described as a progressive pathological condition with retention of protein-rich liquid in the interstitial space, fatty tissue hypertrophy and fibrosis. It is possible to assume that lymphadenectomy related to pelvic surgery results in a localized lymphedema in the pelvis developing disorders of perineum and pelvic floor: a pelvic lymphedema, or rather a blind lymphedema, i.e. with symptoms but with no signs. The clinical evidence shows that the lymphatic vessels play a relevant role in the pathology of the pelvic floor and perineum. The study of pelvic lymphedema could be the key when choosing the therapies for pelvic disorders resulting from surgery.