Jornal Vascular Brasileiro
Jornal Vascular Brasileiro
Review Article

Lymphatic compensation during the postoperative period after breast cancer treatment with axillary dissection

Compensações linfáticas no pós-operatório de câncer de mama com dissecção axilar

Mariana Maia Freire de Oliveira; Maria Teresa Pace do Amaral; Maria Salete Costa Gurgel

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Lymphedema secondary to breast cancer causes physical and psychological morbidity and compromises quality of life. The objective of this literature review was to study lymphatic compensation after surgery for breast cancer and the factors that influence this process, with a view to understanding the etiopathogenesis of lymphedema. Articles indexed on Pubmed published from 1985 to 2012 were reviewed. According to the literature, lymphangiogenesis reduces damage to lymph vessels; there is little evidence that Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor is elevated in women with lymphedema; lymphovenous communications can be observed 60 days after surgery; women without lymphedema have acquired alternative mechanisms for removal of proteins from the interstitial space; and active exercise stimulates lymphatic and venous pumping. Health professionals should teach these patients about the risk factors for lymphedema. The effects of lymphangiogenesis, proteolysis and lymphovenous communications on development of lymphedema should be studied, since these events are intimately related.


lymphatic system, lymphedema, breast cancer


Linfedema secundário ao câncer de mama resulta em morbidade física e psicológica, e compromete a qualidade de vida. O objetivo desta revisão da literatura foi estudar as compensações linfáticas após cirurgia para câncer de mama e os fatores que interferem neste processo, visando a compreender a etiopatogenia do linfedema. Foram incluídos artigos publicados de 1985 a 2012, da base de dados Pubmed. Segundo a literatura, a linfangiogênese reduz danos nos vasos linfáticos; há pouca evidência de que o fator de crescimento vascular endotelial linfático é aumentado nas mulheres com linfedema; anastomoses linfovenosas são observadas 60 dias após a cirurgia; mulheres sem linfedema adquiriram mecanismos alternativos para remoção das proteínas do interstício, e exercício ativo estimula bombeamento linfático e venoso. Orientações dos fatores de risco para linfedema devem ser empregadas por profissionais da saúde. O efeito de linfangiogênese, proteólise e anastomoses linfovenosas sobre o desenvolvimento do linfedema deve ser estudado, pois são eventos intimamente relacionados.


sistema linfático, linfedema, câncer de mama


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