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    Liposuction in the Treatment of Lipedema: A Longitudinal Study.

    Arch Plast Surg 2017 Jul 15;44(4):324-331. Epub 2017 Jul 15.
    Department of Plastic Surgery, Klinikum Ernst von Bergmann, Potsdam, Germany.
    Background: 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.

    Methods: 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.

    Results: 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.

    Conclusions: 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.
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