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Lymph Sparing Liposuction Safety

Lymph Sparing Liposuction Safety

Additional information is being collected regarding lipedema treatment through the continued efforts of researchers. Fat Attacks!: A Case of Fat Embolism Syndrome Post Liposuction was recently posted in September of 2017 in the British Medical Journal and takes a look at the serious complications that occurred after a patient received liposuction on their knees and lower legs. The patient was diagnosed with lipedema and experienced a very rare complication called Fat Embolism Syndrome. Today, let us talk about how we can reduce the risk of lymph sparing liposuction by taking stock of risk factors before each procedure and providing patients with quality details.


– How can we identify risk factors associated with lymph sparing liposuction for patients with lipedema?
– How can we reduce the risk factors for patients with lipedema before, during, and after the operation?
– How we can describe how lymph sparing liposuction operations completed safely can reduce any complications?

Risk Factors and Complications with Liposuction

– Heavier patients with increased BMI or weight are at risk during any surgery. (Gupta, 2016).
– Risk for complications can triple during liposuction procedures when 5 or more liters of fat are removed in a single procedure. (Chow, 2015), (Gilliland MD, 1997), (Gilliland MD, C.G., 1999).
– Risk for complications are increased when general anesthesia is used. General anesthesia can also lead to Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction and even death. (Gottschalk, 2011) (Perouansky, 2010).
– Lipedema patients typically are at a greater risk of varicose veins that can increase potential bleeding during liposuction procedures. (Clavijo-Alvarez, 2011).
– The use of larger cannulas during liposuction procedures can cause lymphatic injury. (Venkatram J., 2008), (Skouge, 1990), (Lawrence N., 1996).

Reducing These Risk Factors and Complications During Surgery

– Decongest the lipedema tissue through manual lymph drainage, compression stockings, wraps, leggings, or intermittent compression pumps.
– This decongestion will help reduce swelling, inflammation, fatigue, tenderness, and heaviness in the course of the lipedema treatment.
– Once patients understand the benefits of compression, they are more likely to comply with the post-operative period.
– Since varicose veins increase the risk of bleeding, they should be treated prior to the liposuction operation.

Lymph Sparing Liposuction Technique

– This technique is able to avoid general anesthesia and post-operation complications by utilizing generous tumescent technique that helps protect lymphatic structures from injury.
– Limits the amount of fat tissue that is removed in one operation, reducing the increased risk when over 5 liters is removed (Gilliland, C.G., 1999). This will follow Florida and California laws that regulate the amount of fat that can be removed.
– Limits the total body surface area that can be treated to 5-8%; lipedema patients typically have more subcutaneous fat tissue (Chow, I.H.).
– While larger cannulas can remove fat more quickly, their use can increase risk factors. Smaller cannulas significantly reduce associated risks of trauma to lymphatic vessels (Venkataram, 2008), (Skouge, 1990), (Lawrence, 1996).


By following medical literature, we can reduce the risk of complications during liposuction procedures. While liposuction procedures are typically safe and effective treatments, complications can occur if the proper care isn’t taken beforehand. Liposuction technicians should have intimate knowledge of the lymphatic drainage system in the treatment areas and take great care with the orientation of the cannula.