Comparison of a novel algorithm quantitatively estimating epifascial fibrosis in three-dimensional computed tomography images to other clinical lymphedema grading methods

Autoři: Kyo-in Koo aff001;  Myoung-Hwan Ko aff002;  Yongkwan Lee aff001;  Hye Won Son aff001;  Suwon Lee aff001;  Chang Ho Hwang aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering, University of Ulsan, Ulsan, Republic of Korea aff001;  Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Jeonbuk National University Medical School and Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Jeonbuk National University-Biomedical Research Institute of Jeonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonbuk, Repub aff002;  Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Republic of Korea aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


No method has yet been approved for detecting lymphedema fibrosis before its progression. This study assessed the feasibility of computed tomography-based estimation of fibrosis. This observational, cross-sectional study included patients with lymphedema affecting one limb. Three types (maximum, mean, minimum) of computed tomography reticulation indexes were digitally calculated from trans-axial images using absorptive values, and the computed tomography reticulation indexes compared with clinical scales and measurements. Of 326 patients evaluated by at least one of lymphoscintigraphy, bio-electrical impedance, and computed tomography, 24 were evaluated by all three. The mean number of computed tomography scans in these patients was 109. Sixteen patients had breast cancer, seven had gynecologic cancers, and one had primary lymphedema. Mean computed tomography reticulation index (r = 0.52, p < 0.01) and maximal computed tomography reticulation index (r = 0.45, p < 0.05) were significantly associated with time from initial limb swelling to computed tomography. Mean computed tomography reticulation index (r = 0.86, p < 0.01), minimal computed tomography reticulation index (r = 0.79, p < 0.01), and maximal computed tomography reticulation index (r = 0.68, p < 0.01) were significantly associated with International Society of Lymphedema substage. Minimal computed tomography reticulation index correlated with 1-kHz-based bio-electrical impedance ratio (r = -0.46, p < 0.05) and with standardized proximal limb circumference difference ratio (r = 0.45, p < 0.05) of both limbs. Maximal computed tomography reticulation index had a sensitivity of 0.78, specificity of 0.60, and areas under the curve of 0.66 in detecting lymphoscintigraphic stage IV. The algorithm utilizing three-dimensional computed tomography images of epifascial fibrosis may be used as a marker for lymphedema duration, limb swelling, International Society of Lymphedema substage, and interstitial lymphatic fluids of lymphedema. The current approach shows promise in providing an additional method to assist in characterizing and monitoring lymphedema patients.

Klíčová slova:

Body limbs – Computed axial tomography – Fibrosis – Lymph nodes – Lymphatic system – Surgical and invasive medical procedures – Surgical oncology – Lymphedema


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