Liposuction may Lessen Lymphedema in Cancer Patients

LiposuctionLiposuction is one of the most common methods primarily used for body contouring in NYC, but now some researchers have found that it can also be a safe and effective option for cancer patients with lymphedema. According to WebMD, cancer probably causes about 99 percent of lymphedema cases and another 1 percent has it due to a developmental problem. Lymphedema is the swelling that occurs when lymph fluid can’t flow normally and builds up in the soft tissues of a limb. It usually occurs in parts of the body where lymph nodes have been removed or damaged by cancer treatment. The areas can be arms, hands, legs or feet.

Harvard Researchers used liposuction to remove fat from underneath the skin in three people with the condition. Two of the patients had lymphedema as a side effect of cancer treatment whereas the third patient had a naturally developing form of lymphedema. In all three cases there was improvement in lymphedema that appears to be more effective and lasting than expected. This study proves that liposuction may ease the limb swelling found in cancer patients. Liposuction has also shown good results in lowering the volume of fluid in a limb with severe lymphedema related to breast cancer treatment.

According to the study, about 200 million people suffer from this limb swelling. The research also shows that liposuction can improve lymphatic flow and enhance the quality of life but is not considered as a cure. Patients should take adequate measures such as wearing a compression garment for faster recovery and getting a special type of massage that helps promote fluid drainage. Assessment, treatment, and follow-up by an experienced and skilled surgeon are essential.

Why liposuction was more effective than expected is something yet to be proven. Several theories are offered,and one such theory is that by removing the fat, pressure is taken off the remaining lymph nodes and vessels, allowing them to function better. Another theory is that the fat may make fluid; so, removing it might mean less overall fluid. However, none of these theories have been proven right or wrong.

The study team pointed out that this procedure hasn’t been used to treat lymphedema in the United States, but has been used in Australia and Europe for around ten years. They want to see a larger trial on a U.S. population before using this procedure for medical purposes. They also point out that insurance companies would likely pay for liposuction done for a medical reason, such as lymphedema. In New York City, liposuction can be safely performed at an AAAASF-accredited plastic surgery practice. Though liposuction can reshape your body, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions to recover well, and maintain your liposuction results by opting a healthy lifestyle.

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