Lymphatic filariasis

Surgical approaches to the urogenital manifestations of lymphatic filariasis. Report from an informal consultation among experts

WHO/Department of control of neglected tropical diseases

Publication details

Editors: Dr W. Johnson/Clinical Interventions and Dr J. King/Lymphatic Filariasis
Number of pages: vi, 43 p.
Publication date: August 2019
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/CDS/NTD/PCT/2019.04



During the 17 years since Surgical approaches to the urogenital manifestations of lymphatic filariasis was first published, there has been heightened awareness of the physical, economic and emotional burden of the genitourinary manifestations of filariasis. With the impetus to provide better guidance for care of those suffering from LF, this update was both warranted and timely.

At the outset, the Committee noted that barriers continue to exist in care of patients affected by LF-associated morbidity. These barriers include lack of information for patients as well as for many healthcare providers, including general surgeons and others within health systems

This update offers a new consensus of the Committee regarding the staging of hydroceles caused by LF, also known as “filariceles”. It recommends integrating LF surgery with other efforts to strengthen surgical care by assessing health facilities for their surgical readiness using the WHO surgical assessment tool or “SAT”. It also recommends integratinghernia surgery with hydrocele surgery and integrating standards for prevention of surgical site infection (SSI).

The update revises recommendations for standard procedures and processes, offers an algorithm for diagnosis (including the use of ultrasound) and discusses postoperative care. It recommends collecting data using the staging and grading system described by Capuano and Capuano along with other metrics for public health management of LF.

A multifaceted approach has therefore been recommended to coordinate public health outreach with national surgical planning and local health systems to include supporting partners such as nongovernmental organizations. Surgical camps with mobile teams, as well as training of personnel at DCP3 “first level” or WHO Level II hospitals (depending on region and resources), have important roles for reducing LF morbidity.

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