Lipema Liposuction, at what point do overweight patients become candidates? (photos)

Hello - i've been diagnosed with stage III lipedema in my lower extremities and possibly my arms. I also have a lymphedema in my lower extremities. I am trying to lose my non-lipedema fat but my progress is slowing down. At what point do overweight patients usually become good surgical candidates for lipedema liposuction?

Doctor Answers 5

Is liposuction safe in overweight patients?

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Hi Fithappytam,

Thank you for your question and your photo. Liposuction can certainly be done at any point in time however the patient expectations need to be realistic. Liposuction can routinely be done in patients that are overweight but the results can be less than ideal as this creates loose skin. In patients with lymphedema, the surgical treatment is what's called a Charles procedure where the skin and took you can use tissues completely remove to the level of the muscle any skin graft is placed. However it does not leave an aesthetically pleasing result. I would recommend an in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see what your best options. Good luck.

All the best,

Carlos Mata MD, MBA, FACS

Board-certified plastic surgeon

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


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liposuction may make the lymphedema worse.  Surgical excision may be needed.  I you think you need to seek out the best expert on surgical correction who probably will be in a university setting.

William Jervis, Jr., MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Lymphedema and liposuction

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Hello, generally liposuction is indicated in the treatment of lymphedema when it fails to respond to pneumatic compression pumps, massage, skin care and other modalities recommended by your doctor. When it impairs your ability to perform your activities of daily living, we offer more aggressive treatment options such as liposuction. Obesity is not necessarily a contraindication to the procedure because we understand how difficult and distressing this condition may be. Safety standards tell us to be careful when operating on patients with BMI > 30, but bariatric surgery is safely performed these days in patients well over that number. I suggest you consult with a board-certified surgeon who is trained in liposuction and let him or her evaluate you. You may be a candidate. I hope this helps. -Dr. Mill.

Dan Mills, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Liposuction in patients with lymphedema

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In patients with lymphedema, the lymphatics are inadequate to sufficiently return subcutaneous fluid back into the general vascular system. Therefore patients treated with elective surgery may likely see severe prolonged swelling of their extremities which limits their candidacy for liposuction. 

Liposuction/ Liposculpture/ Fat Transfer/ Vaser/ Hi Definition Procedures/Liposuction Revision/Tummy Tuck/Body Contouring

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I appreciate your question.

For health and safety reasons, best to be at a BMI less than 30 or within 10 pounds of your goal weight and stable at that weight for 6 months prior to surgery for optimal results.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified 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.