Background: Lymphatic insufficiency might play a significant role in the pathophysiology of lipoedema. Liposuction is up to now the best treatment. As liposuction is invasive, the technique could destruct parts of the lymphatic system and by this aggravate the lymphatic component and/or induce lymphoedema. We investigated the function of the lymphatic system in lipoedema patients before and after tumescent liposuction and thus whether tumescent liposuction can be regarded as a safe treatment. Methods: Lymphoscintigraphy was performed to quantify the lymph outflow of 117 lipoedema patients. Mean clearance percentages of radioactive protein loaded after 1 min with respect to the total injected dose and corrected for decay of the radiopharmaceutical in the subcutaneous lymphatics were used as functional quantitative parameters as well as the clearance percentages and inguinal uptake 2 h post injection. The results of lymphatic function in lipoedema patients were compared with values obtained from normal healthy volunteers. We also compared 50 lymphoscintigraphies out of the previous 117 lipoedema patients before and six months after tumescent liposuction. Results: In 117 lipoedema patients clearance 2 h post injection in the right and left foot was disturbed in 79.5 and 87.2% respectively. The inguinal uptake 2 h post injection in the right and left groin was disturbed in 60.3 and 64.7% respectively. In 50 lipoedema patients mean clearance and inguinal uptake after tumescent liposuction were slightly improved, 0.01 (p = 0.37) versus 0.02 (p = 0.02), respectively. This is statistically not relevant in clearance. Conclusion: Lipoedema legs have a delayed lymph transport. Tumescent liposuction does not diminish the lymphatic function in lipoedema patients, thus tumescent liposuction can be regarded as a safe treatment.

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Department of Dermatology

van de Pas, C.B. (Chantalle B), Boonen, R. S. M., Stevens, S. (Shaula), Willemsen, S., Valkema, R., & Neumann, M. (2019). Does tumescent liposuction damage the lymph vessels in lipoedema patients?. Phlebology. doi:10.1177/0268355519885217