For a Better Life


Dr. Wright’s Lipedema Surgery Techniques Improve Mobility & Quality of Life

Dr. Wright’s innovative lipedema surgery techniques are transforming lives by improving mobility and enhancing the quality of life for patients. He will be conducting a video demonstration of his surgical techniques in a Master Class for Lipedema treatment at this year’s 1st Annual Lipedema World Congress.

As a founding member of Lipedema World Alliance (LWA) and with expertise in this procedure, Dr. Wright will present the Tumescent Local Anesthesia (TLA) approach using power-assisted liposuction. In this course, he will describe his approach and techniques to give the best surgical outcomes and the greatest impact on mobility and quality of life long-term. His video demonstration and Master Class will be conducted on October 4, 2023, in Potsdam, Germany, with international participants from Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Sweden, Australia, India, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Iceland, Denmark, and Turkey. Below, we outline the topics and steps Dr. Wright will discuss.

Pre-Surgical Optimization

Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Compression Therapy

Patients must first implement an anti-inflammatory diet and compression therapy. Their diets should emphasize low-refined carbs and avoiding processed foods, and medical-grade compression optimizes lymphatic function and tissue inflammation. These combined measures can decrease limb size, decrease pain, and lead to softening of the lipedema tissue ahead of surgery.

Pre -Surgical Mapping

Before lipedema surgery, using high-frequency Ultrasound, the greater and smaller saphenous veins are mapped, and adjacent principal lymphatic collecting ducts are located.  The watershed area around the principal superficial lymphatics in the legs is approached with extra care during surgery. 

Generous Tumescent Anesthesia. 

Tumescent fluid helps protect vascular and lymph vessels from injury, so the surgical area must be completely tumescent. Dr. Wright was trained in the Tumescent Technique by its inventor, Dr. Jeffery Klien. He follows The Klein Method and Dosing. General anesthesia adds the risk of general anesthetic medication. It can also lead to areas of inadequate tumescence because the general anesthesia blocks the ability to find areas that were incompletely tumescent.  

The Liposuction Technique 

Dr. Wright uses small (3mm) blunt cannulas to remove as much lipedema-affected adipose tissue as possible. This process works to debulk the area using longitudinal techniques. 

The cannula is directed in longitudinal strokes, especially in the areas marked with lymphatic collectors, so it allows transecting of the lymphatic vessels. This requires frequent position changes, sometimes 8-12 different patient re-positions, to ensure he can remove the tissue using longitudinal cannula strokes. 

After as much lipedema-affected tissue as possible has been removed with the suction cannula, he feels and massages the affected areas to check for any remaining fibrous lipedema nodules. If lipedema nodules are still present, then we manually loosen the nodules. If necessary, we manually extract them with an additional puncture of incision. 

The patient is then placed in medical-grade compression to be worn for 24 hours a day for the first month.

Removing Lipomatosis Nodules

Early-stage Lipedema (Stage 1) has small nodules the size of small seeds or peas, which often appear pearl-size. Middle-stage Lipedema (Stage 2) has larger nodules that feel the size of walnuts or gumballs. The presence of lobules characterizes the later stage, Lipedema (Stage 3). The nodules in Stage may be the same size as those in Stage 2, or they may be larger up to the size of a plum.

In the earlier stages of Lipedema (Stage 1 and most patients in Stage 2), the subcutaneous nodules are removed with lipedema reduction surgery, which involves modification of cosmetic liposuction using tools and techniques that minimize harm to the lymphatics. In lipedema patients with larger or more adherent nodules, the nodules have to be manually extracted.

In these cases, a small incision is made over the nodules that resist removal with a suction cannula and are gently milked out of the skin. Surgeons don’t want to cause any more trauma than is absolutely necessary. However, there are instances where this method is the only way to get larger, more adherent nodules removed. Dr. Wright has several videos of the extraction process you can view here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lipedema Liposuction

How long does lipedema liposuction take?

The procedure typically takes several hours to complete, depending on the extent of the lipedema.

Is lipedema liposuction painful?

Patients may experience some discomfort and swelling in the days following the procedure, but this can be managed with pain medication and other treatments.

How long does recovery take after lipedema liposuction?

Most patients can return to work and other activities within a week or two, although this may vary depending on the extent of the liposuction and individual healing rates.

Lipedema Surgery Reduces Painful Symptoms

By reducing the amount of subcutaneous fat tissue, you can reduce any pain associated with lipedema. Lipedema reduction surgery, sometimes called Lymph sparing liposuction, will help you increase mobility without having the pain you have been feeling with lipedema since it started. This is huge for women with lipedema, especially because the pain and bruising is the leading symptom of seeking treatment. Women report a significant improvement in their ability to move around more freely, exercise more regularly, and enjoy day-to-day activities that were previously off-limits. Bumping into a chair or a corner no longer causes large bruises, playing with the family dog doesn’t cause pain when they jump, and everyday activities are no longer considered out of reach.