Is Smart Lipo on Arms Safe for Patient Who Had Breast Cancer?

I had breast cancer 11 yrs ago; stage 1 NO node involvement; radiation and lumpectomy with node dissection (don't know how many removed). Had minor Lymphedema 1-2 yrs after surgery.

My arms are now normal, equal in size, no swelling for past 9 years. I'm considering Lipo or Smart Lipo to reduce arm size and tighten area. Arms are 12", NO bat wings but some fat and sagging. I'm 57, 5'4", 140 lbs. and have good skin tone.

Is there a contraindication for Smart Lipo in my case? Could it trigger lymphedema? I heard that lipo is now used to TREAT lymphedema. Thoughts? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 2

Breast cancer and SmartLipo

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Congratulations on being cancer free! I treat many breast cancer patient's and I can understand your desire to look and feel better.  Breast cancer in and of itself is not a contraindication to having smart Lipo or even regular liposuction.  The 2 items in your history that are concerning are axillary lymph node dissection and radiation. The combination of these 2 procedures really makes any Liposuction on your breast cancer side risky.  Lymphedema is a very difficult problem to solve and in this case I do not believe the risk, is worth the potential gain.  Sorry!  Again congratulations on being cancer free!

Liposuction and lymphedema

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If you have a previous history of lymphedema, there is the potential that laser liposuction can make that worse and, therefore, I would not advise you to have laser liposuction. An alternative might be Thermage treatment, a non-invasive approach that may also tighten the skin.

Although liposuction can be used to treat lymphedema. Generally liposuction is not used for lymphedema and this is one of those conditions where the treatment could either make the problem slightly better or markedly worse. I would advise against it.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.