About Liposuction for Lymphedema


Specialized Liposuction for Advanced Lymphedema of the Extremity

Patients whose lymphedema has progressed to the point that their limbs no longer adequately respond to conservative or lymphatic compression therapy may be candidates for liposuction which is specially adapted to treat this advanced condition. The liposuction technique is different from the normal cosmetic liposuction methods and has been pioneered by Dr. Hakan Brorson in Malmo, Sweden.

Patients who have lymphedema swelling in the arm or leg that is not fluid filled and has non-pitting edema may be candidates. This occurs when the lymphedema fluid has been replaced by fat and protein and can no longer be drained by techniques such as lymph node transfer or lymphaticovenous anastomoses. In many cases the affected extremity may feel soft, and a careful examination by a trained expert may be required to differentiate soft solid from soft fluid in an arm or leg.

It is critical to note that this technique is different from normal liposuction techniques, and this technique should not be performed by surgeons who are not specifically trained in this specialized type of liposuction. A team approach with surgeon and therapist is required for best results.

Dr. Granzow has trained with Dr. Hakan Brorson in Sweden in this method of lymphedema treatment and lead one of three teams in the United States qualified to perform this type of procedure.


Dr. Granzow in surgery with Dr. Hakan Brorson in Malmo, Sweden


This specialized liposuction appears to be effective in reducing the size and firmness of the affected arm or leg. However, patients must follow lifelong use of compression garments after this type of surgery to prevent recurrence of the lymphedema and soft tissue swelling at this time. Carefully performed studies have shown that lack of continued compression allows relapse of the edema swelling in the affected extremity.

Studies in the medical literature have shown that this specialized type of lymphatic liposuction does not appear to further damage the already damaged lymphatics in an arm or leg affected by lymphedema.




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