Lymphedema liposuction is a version of the cosmetic procedure but it is not performed for superficial reasons. Haken Brorson, a surgeon from Sweden, discovered this innovative procedure which is used to assist patients with a serious disease called lymphedema.
The accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the patient’s tissue causes lymphedema, which can occur when the lymphatic vessels are impaired or nonexistent, or when lymph nodes are removed.
Lymphedema is a potentially crippling condition and in advanced stages can have many serious effects on the body. It can cause wounds to heal extremely slowly, cause an infection called lymphangitis, decrease the amount of oxygen in the patient’s transport system, and also cause tissue channels to grow.
Lymphedema usually occurs in breast cancer patients who have chosen to have surgery to prevent the spread of the cancer. Half of all cancer patients who have this preventative surgery develop Lymphedema. This is because the technique used in the surgery, though effective for stopping the spread of the disease includes removing the lymph gland under the armpits.
The first sign for patients that Lymphedema is starting is the increase in fatty tissue accumulating in their upper arms. This build up can be very painful, causing swelling and loss of movement in the arm.
If caught early Lymphedema can be treated by daily massages to the effected area (resulting in drainage) and various compression techniques. If Lymphedema is left untreated, these traditional methods of treatment may not work. At the advanced stages the fatty tissues are so substantial that Lymphedema liposuction may be the only solution. This innovative procedure will usually completely reverse the symptoms of Lymphedema.
Lymphedema Liposuction Surgery
Lymphedemia liposuction uses the same techniques of traditional liposuction to extract fatty deposits. The surgeon makes fifteen to twenty small incisions in the patient’s arm, about three millimeters long, to access the fatty tissue that will be removed. Using cannulas (small tubes) the fat is then excised from the patient’s body using a sucking technique. The average amount of fat extracted is 1.9 liters. However, it is not uncommon to remove as much as three liters from a patient with Lymphedma.
Lymphedema Liposuction Compression Garments
After the Lymphedema liposuction procedure, patients are required to wear a compression garment for the duration of their life to prevent re occurrence. The compression bandage should be custom fitted to each patient, and several measurements should be taken over the first year to fit the continuous decreasing size of the patient’s arm. Immediately after the surgery, the patient’s arms will be severely swollen. This inflammation will subside by seventy percent within the first two weeks. Furthermore, the patient will return to their typical size usually within one year.
This medically innovative use for liposuction will help the patient regain use of their arms, usually totally restoring the complete range of motion. It also greatly reduces the pain that the patient previously had in their joints, allowing them to lead a full and active life with little or no chance of another flare up. Patients will need to be educated on the proper care of their post surgery bodies to maximize recovery.
Lymphedema liposuction is still a relatively new procedure and little is known about the long-term effects of the surgery. However, a number of patients have undergone treatment so far with no complications reported. In addition, the first patient to have this procedure did so over a decade ago and still describes being symptom free.