Some patients can develop fibrosis after undergoing liposuction, although the risk is low. Lipo fibrosis may not show up right away, but typically it is characterized by contour irregularities you can see or feel. For some patients, the area may also be painful, or you may feel a pulling sensation when you move. At Eterna Cosmetic Surgery, we can treat lipo fibrosis and, even better, help prevent it from occurring.
We start by using VASERlipo, the advanced technology that is significantly more gentle on the tissues than traditional liposuction. Nonetheless, anyone can develop lipo fibrosis — there is no age, gender or location difference. People who are prone to develop abnormally thickened scars or keloids (raised scars) are more prone to developing fibrosis following liposuction surgery.
What Is Lipo Fibrosis?
Fibrosis is abnormally thickened scar tissue that can form in areas treated with traditional or VASER liposuction. After any type of surgery, which the body sees as a wound, the immune system responds by triggering production of scar tissue to repair the skin and underlying tissues as part of the normal healing process.
However, in some cases the body produces too many fibroblasts — the key type of cell found in connective tissue. These fibroblasts form bands which connect two or more previously unconnected tissues, causing hardness under the skin.
Preventing Lipo Fibrosis
The lymphatic system is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. However, liposuction can lead to suppression of the lymphatic system in the treated areas. The resulting inadequate filtering causes fluid retention and pain. Lymphatic massage restores proper system function, draining away excess fluid while promoting delivery of oxygen, vitamins and minerals needed to fuel a speedy recovery. Lymphatic massage therapy alleviates pain, and helps prevent swelling and bruising as well as fibrosis.
The sooner we start post-procedure lymphatic massage, the better. Dr. Hernandez recommends patients start coming in for massage within 1 week of their liposuction treatment. Then, we can do weekly treatments for 4 to 6 weeks or longer, if needed, until the majority of the swelling has resolved and the treated areas look and feel smooth.
A proper fitting medical grade compression garment helps reduce swelling and helps support tissues during the healing process. Managing swelling is key to post liposuction fibrosis prevention – but it won’t work if you don’t wear your compression garment as directed by Dr. Hernandez. (No cheating!)
Treating Lipo Fibrosis
Although some doctors recommend additional VASER liposuction to reduce fibrosis, Dr. Hernandez does not. “I believe that patients who are prone to lipo fibrosis should not undergo further liposuction,” she says, “because it can cause more fibrosis.”
Instead, if a patient has already developed fibrosis, Dr. Hernandez recommends lymphatic massage as a best-choice treatment, for the same reasons it works so well to help prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
In addition to lymphatic massage, we also offer therapeutic ultrasound with the Aspen system, which helps restore smoother looking contours by softening tissues affected by lipo fibrosis.
You’re in Capable Hands at Eterna
It’s important to note that not all massage therapists are well-schooled in the specific techniques of lymphatic drainage massage therapy. When you come to Eterna Cosmetic Surgery, you can always be confident you’re getting the best possible treatment, tailored just for you and performed by someone with skill and experience, whether that’s Dr. Hernandez of our licensed medical aesthetician.