Injuries and Complications of the Lymphatic System Following Renal Transplantation

  • P.R. Koehler


Although major lymph trunks of the recipient are transected during renal transplantation, no lymphatic complications per se have been reported. We believe that these complications are not infrequent but have not been recognized as such because no lymphograms were performed. This report deals with four patients who developed draining sinuses, pelvic abscesses and other masses in whom the correct diagnosis was established by lymphography; namely, that the complications were caused by continuous lymphatic drainage from lymphatic vessels.

The purpose of this paper is to describe four patients who underwent renal transplantation and developed complications directly related to surgical injury of pelvic lymph vessels. Review of the literature reveals a great variety of possible post-operative (1, 7, 9) complications which may develop after renal transplantation, but relationship of such complications to the lymphatic system has rarely been stressed (4, 8). This is particularly surprising since the surgery needed for the placement of a transplanted kidney requires transection of major lymphatics of the external iliac chain. During the preparation of the vascular pedicle the lymphatic and aureolar tissue surrounding the external iliac and hypogastric vessel must be excised. Failure to identify and ligate such vessels may result in post-operative leakage into potential pelvic spaces. Lymphography correctly established the relationships of draining sinuses and/or pelvic masses which developed in four patients who underwent renal transplantation. Brief histories of these patients will be presented.

How to Cite:

Koehler, P., (1972) “Injuries and Complications of the Lymphatic System Following Renal Transplantation”, Lymphology 5(2), 61-67.

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Published on
29 Sep 1972
Peer Reviewed