Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Lymphedema is a condition characterised by painful swelling in the extremities. The swelling occurs when lymph nodes are no longer facilitating the proper drainage of lymph fluid from an area of the body. Primary lymphedema is a congenital condition; however, secondary lymphedema is the most common type of lymphedema. This condition may be caused by infection, trauma or, most commonly, treatment of cancer.
The procedure Dr. Date prefers is Vascularised lymph node transfer. The procedure aims to predictably reduce the recurrence and reinfection rate by inserting a segment of the omentum from abdominal cavity. The fat accumulated as the result of Lymphedema can be effectively reduced with a modified liposuction technique: lymphatic-sparing liposuction with large tumescence volumes. There are many key differences between traditional liposuction and Lymphedema treatment.
Treatment typically occurs in stages—as many as 3 separate procedures. This is largely a matter of safety and skin elasticity. It is not uncommon to remove, over time, a large volume of fat when treating Lymphedema with liposuction. It is safer to break large volume fat reduction into separate procedures because it reduces the risk of complications during and after surgery.
It also allows the creation of more refined, sculpted results and will allow the skin to contract to some extent between sessions. Lipedema treatment also often involves flipping the patients on their abdomen and back so the plastic surgeon can reach all areas circumferentially.
Finally, treating the lower legs from knees to ankles requires meticulous work and smaller cannulas, therefore a longer surgical time, to avoid cannula tracks in this delicate region.
Lymphedema patients who undergo liposuction at Dr. Date's Clinic experience a recovery similar to that of most other liposuction procedures. Dr. Date will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you will receive detailed instructions about your post-surgical care, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Normal symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complication
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe.
Every procedure involves inherent risks. Although serious complications are extremely rare, Dr. Date educates every patient about potential risks.
Those risks can include scarring, the opening of the wound, discomfort for several days, bruising around the surgical sites, infection, bleeding, skin necrosis and general anaesthesia-related issues.