Modified charles procedure using negative pressure dressings for primary lymphedema: A functional assessment
OBJECTIVE: The Charles procedure is an aggressive operation usually only indicated for severe lymphedema as it often yields an unpredictable outcome. We modified this procedure in order to achieve predictable results. METHODS: The modification entailed the use of a negative-pressure dressing after the initial debulking surgery and then the delay of skin grafting by 5 to 7 days. Patients were graded by means of a lower limb functional scale to assess their functional status pre- and postoperatively. RESULTS: Eight patients with severe primary lymphedema underwent a modified Charles procedure. All patients underwent this procedure without any major complications with an average resection of 8.5 kg of lymphedematous tissue. Minor complications included operative blood loss and additional regrafting (3 patients). The average follow-up was 27.3 months. CONCLUSION: The results show a dramatic functional improvement in quality of life and a high overall satisfaction rate of patients undergoing this procedure. Our modification makes this a relatively simple procedure with a predictable outcome. © 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.