This is a preliminary report of anastomosis performed on lymph nodes and lymph vessels in experimental animals. The small size of the lymphatic vessels and the extreme exiguity of their walls present technical difficulties which have discouraged previous investigative efforts. The lymphatic system, however, includes factors of vessel structure, composition of lymph, and flow characteristics, which are quite different from blood vessels and which make feasible a completely different approach to reestablishing vascular continuity.
Lymphatic vessels are too fragile for formal suturing, but have a regenerative capacity which renders precise approximation unnecessary.1 The low concentration of coagulation proteins in peripheral lymph makes the likelihood of intraluminal clotting remote, even under circumstances of surgical manipulation.2 Peripheral lymph flow is very slow and under low pressure, so that local extravasation of lymph from a loose approximation type of anastomosis is not a limiting problem.
From these considerations, it appeared that