Br J Dermatol. 2012 Jan;166(1):161-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10566.x. Epub 2011 Nov 17.
Tumescent liposuction in lipoedema yields good long-term results.
Lipoedema is a painful disease in women with circumscribed increased subcutaneous fatty tissue, oedema, pain and bruising. Whereas conservative methods with combined decongestive therapy (manual lymphatic drainage, compression garments) have been well established over the past 50 years, surgical therapy with tumescent liposuction has only been used for about 10years and long-term results are unknown.
To determine the efficacy of liposuction concerning appearance (body shape) and associated complaints after a long-term period.
A total of 164 patients who had undergone conservative therapy over a period of years, were treated by liposuction under tumescent local anaesthesia with vibrating microcannulas. In a monocentric study, 112 could be re-evaluated with a standardized questionnaire after a mean of 3years and 8months (range 1year and 1month to 7years and 4months) following the initial surgery and a mean of 2years and 11months (8months to 6years and 10months) following the last surgery.
All patients showed a distinct reduction of subcutaneous fatty tissue (average 9846mL per person) with improvement of shape and normalization of body proportions. Additionally, they reported either a marked improvement or a complete disappearance of spontaneous pain, sensitivity to pressure, oedema, bruising, restriction of movement and cosmetic impairment, resulting in a tremendous increase in quality of life; all these complaints were reduced significantly (P<0·001). Patients with lipoedema stage II and III showed better improvement compared with patients with stage I. Physical decongestive therapy could be either omitted (22·4% of cases) or continued to a much lower degree. No serious complications (wound infection rate 1·4%, bleeding rate 0·3%) were observed following surgery.
Tumescent liposuction is a highly effective treatment for lipoedema with good morphological and functional long-term results.
© 2011 The Authors. BJD © 2011 British Association of Dermatologists.
Liposuction in the Treatment of Lipedema: A Longitudinal Study.
Lipedema is a condition consisting of painful bilateral increases in subcutaneous fat and interstitial fluid in the limbs with secondary lymphedema and fibrosis during later stages. Combined decongestive therapy (CDT) is the standard of care in most countries. Since the introduction of tumescent technique, liposuction has been used as a surgical treatment option. The aim of this study was to determine the outcome of liposuction used as treatment for lipedema.
Twenty-five patients who received 72 liposuction procedures for the treatment of lipedema completed a standardized questionnaire. Lipedema-associated complaints and the need for CDT were assessed for the preoperative period and during 2 separate postoperative follow-ups using a visual analog scale and a composite CDT score. The mean follow-up times for the first postoperative follow-up and the second postoperative follow-up were 16 months and 37 months, respectively.
Patients showed significant reductions in spontaneous pain, sensitivity to pressure, feeling of tension, bruising, cosmetic impairment, and general impairment to quality of life from the preoperative period to the first postoperative follow-up, and these results remained consistent until the second postoperative follow-up. A comparison of the preoperative period to the last postoperative follow-up, after 4 patients without full preoperative CDT were excluded from the analysis, indicated that the need for CDT was reduced significantly. An analysis of the different stages of the disease also indicated that better and more sustainable results could be achieved if patients were treated in earlier stages.
Liposuction is effective in the treatment of lipedema and leads to an improvement in quality of life and a decrease in the need for conservative therapy.