Background:Lymph node dissection is often performed as a part of surgical treatment for breast cancer and malignant melanoma to prevent malignant cells from traveling via the lymphatic system. Currently little is known about postoperative lymphatic drainage pattern alterations. This knowledge may be useful for management of recurrent cancer and prevention of breast cancer related lymphedema. We mapped the complete superficial lymphatic system of a dog and used this canine model to perform preliminary studies of lymphatic architectural changes in postoperative condition.Methods:Lymphatic territories (lymphosomes) were mapped with 4 female mongrel carcasses using an indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescent lymphography and a radiographic microinjection technique. Two live dogs were then subjected to unilateral lymph node dissection of lymph basins of the forelimb, and ICG lymphography and lymphangiogram were performed 6 months after the surgery to investigate lymphatic changes. Lymphatic patterns in the carcass were then compared with postoperative lymphatic patterns in the live dogs.Results:Ten lymphosomes were identified, corresponding with ten lymphatic basins. Postoperative fluorescent lymphographic images and lymphangiograms in the live dogs revealed small caliber lymphatic network fulfilling gaps in the surgical area and collateral lymphatic vessels arising from the network connecting to lymph nodes in the contralateral and ipsilateral neck in one dog and the ipsilateral subclavicular vein in another dog.Conclusion:Our canine lymphosome map allowed us to observe lymphatic collateral formations after lymph node dissection in live dogs. This canine model may help clarify our understanding of postoperative lymphatic changes in humans in future studies.