Today, I’d like to share this research performed by a group of plastic surgeons in Germany. The paper is called Liposuction treatment improves disease-specific quality of life in lipoedema patients. It was published in the peer-reviewed journal International Wound Journal in April 2021 and the lead author is Torsten Schlosshauer.
This research was a two-part study of 69 women with stage 3 lipedema who underwent tumescent lymph-sparing liposuction between January 2004 and August 2019 at the authors’ hospital in Frankfurt, Germany.
The first part of the study was a retrospective analysis of the 69 women that noted their age and weight before and after liposuction, BMI, number of liposuction procedures, and the amount of fat removed per leg. The second part of the study compared the quality of life prior to surgery to their status six months post-surgery for 20 of the women.
The quality of life assessment used was a variation of the short version of the Freiburg Life Quality Assessment that is specific for people with lymphatic diseases. It has 30 items in five different subscales, including physical complaints, daily life, social life, emotional well–being, and lymphatic disorder therapy. The last 20 consecutive patients receiving liposuction completed the quality of life questionnaires both before and six months after liposuction.
Let’s look at the demographics of the 69 participants of this study. The mean age was 50.6 years, with an average BMI of 33.4 at the time of the first surgery. The average number of liposuction procedures performed was 2.9, with a range of one to 12 separate surgeries.
In the assessment of quality of life, the results of this study were consistent with other studies examining the quality of life of women with lipedema. On average, the participants in this study rated themselves lower than the general public in all areas. However, following their liposuction treatment, the participants showed a significant improvement in all areas and as well as in the global score. The highest quality of life was found in the areas of social and daily life followed by a decrease in physical complaints.
Here are the key messages of this research:
- Before treatment with liposuction, disease-specific quality of life in patients with lipedema was low and showed a significant improvement in all aspects of the survey after liposuction.
- There was a significant correlation between a higher number of liposuction treatment sessions and the general health status in participants, suggesting that a higher number of liposuction treatment sessions has a positive effect on the general health status of a woman with lipedema.
- Interestingly, there was not a significant correlation between BMI and general health status, participant health status with respect to lipedema, or with quality of life. The amount of fat removed also did not have a significant correlation with these factors.
Although this study has some important limitations, such as a small sample size and no control group, it is important for women with lipedema because it provides more data on the potential impact of liposuction surgery on the quality of life in some women with lipedema. Of course, more high-level research is needed.
If you are considering this option for the management of your lipedema symptoms, be sure to consult with several knowledgeable surgeons and do your own research of the available research to help you come to a decision. I hope the review of this article was helpful information for you.