Does Lymphedema Rule out the Possibility of a Breast Augmentation?

Hi - I have secondary lymphedema in my left leg as a result of cervical cancer treatment 14 years ago. I am a slender woman and at a 34A cup I am practically flat chested without a padded pushup bra. I would really like to have a breast augmentation and would like to know if this something that I can do or if there is too much risk of making the lymphedema worse. Any advice would be appreciated.

Doctor Answers 5

Lymphedema in the leg limit chances for breast augmentation?

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The best recommendation I can make is to visit with a Board-certified palstic surgeon. You can find one on The surgeon can evaluate your health issues and determine risk of elective surgery in the setting of those medical issues. If you have chronic infection or if you are on blood thinners, you are probably not a good candidate.  If you are otherwise healthy, you may be a candidate for surgery. Key is anti blood clot precautions with "squeezy boots' during surgery, and walking after surgery. Breast augmentation surgery should take no more than 1.5 hours and typically presents very low risk for complications.

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Lymphedema and breast augmentation

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If you have lymphedema in your legs this is not necessarily a contraindication for a breast augmentation.   Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Lymphedema and breast implants

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Any surgery will temporarily make the lymphedema worse because of the IV saline given during the procedure, but it should not have a permanent effect.  Be sure that your surgeon plans to use sequential compression stockings while you are under anesthesia.  These will squeeze you legs gently during your procedure to minimize the lymphedema.  Many people with lymphedema use similar devices in their homes. I hope all goes well.

Lower Extremity Lymphedema and Breast Augmentation

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     Lower extremity lymphedema should not preclude you from having breast augmentation.  If you are otherwise healthy without generalized swelling, your body's ability to manage fluid shifts should not be greatly compromised.  There may be a short period after the augmentation in which the lymphedema may worsen transiently due to overall body volume stores increasing.  However, breast augmentation produces very little swelling as compared to liposuction or something of a greater magnitude.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Does Lymphedema Rule out the Possibility of a Breast Augmentation

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Anatomically it is hard to imagine how breast implants could interfere with lymphatic drainage from the leg. The lymphatic drainage from the legs is deep within the abdominal cavity once the lymph channels are above the legs. I would suggest proceeding with consultations. 

Thanks for your question, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.