Interruption of the Lymphatic Vessels and its Consequences in Total Homotransplantation of the Small Intestine-and Right Side of the Colon in Man

  • CL Olivier
  • R Rettori
  • Ch Olivier
  • J.P. Camilleri


The problems of total lymphatic drainage interruption have been studied in a case of total homotransplantation of the small bowel and right colon with a clinical survival of 26 days. Marked stasis with distension of lymphatic tracts was noticed both in the mucosa of the colostomy and in the mesentery. At postmortem examination, no lymphatic regeneration was observed 26 days after grafting. Histological slides of the mesentery showed areas of oedema associated with pronounced lymphangiectasis. The lymphatic cavities were filled with red cells and the lymph nodes were apoplectic. The absence of lymphatic regeneration is a point of real interest, especially concerning both the secondary sclerosis owing to the lymphedema, that would compromise the function of the graft, and the absorption of fatty acids.

The absorption of these acids by the venous route either directly or indirectly through spontaneous lympho-venous anastomosis, in fact, seems to be a sufficient by-pass. Under these conditions, ligature of the lymphatics of the transplant is a safe procedure, thus preventing retro-peritoneal lymphorrhagia or chylous ascites. However, it would be perhaps useful to create such a lympho-venous anastomosis in order to diminish the stasis in the transplant until regeneration of lymphatics occurs.

The abundance of lymphatic tissue at the level of the intestine and the important role it plays in collecting and carrying away fat absorbed from the digestive mucosa suggested that interruption of the lymphatic vessels during intestinal transplantation might raise a number of special problems.

In the light of experimental results and our own findings following intestinal homotransplantation in man we shall attempt to bring our knowledge up to date in regard to the following five essential points:

  • the immediate repercussions of raised lymphatic pressure on the graft;
  • the late consequences of prolonged lymphatic stasis on the graft;
  • the consequences of lymphatic interruption on absorption of fat;
  • the possibilities of lymphatic regeneration in man;
  • the possible immunological consequences of lymphatic stasis on the intestinal graft.

How to Cite:

Olivier, C., Rettori, R., Olivier, C. & Camilleri, J., (1972) “Interruption of the Lymphatic Vessels and its Consequences in Total Homotransplantation of the Small Intestine-and Right Side of the Colon in Man”, Lymphology 5(1), 24-31.

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Published on
29 Sep 1972
Peer Reviewed