Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 11 (9), e5787

Lipoaspiration and Controlled Compressive Therapy in Lymphedema of the Upper Extremity: A Comprehensive Systematic Review


Lipoaspiration and Controlled Compressive Therapy in Lymphedema of the Upper Extremity: A Comprehensive Systematic Review

Antonio J Forte et al. Cureus.


Lipoaspiration followed by controlled compression therapy has been used to treat lymphedema of the upper extremity. We aimed to describe the studies reporting on outcomes of this procedure, in addition to reporting the differences with patients that were treated only with compressive therapy. The PubMed database was queried for studies that evaluated the use of lipoaspiration for upper extremity lymphedema. The keywords "aspiration lipectomy" AND "lymphedema" and synonyms in different combinations were used for the search. From a total of 129 articles, 13 met inclusion criteria. Ten studies reported outcomes of patients treated with lipoaspiration followed by compressive therapy, and three studies compared this procedure with patients that had only compressive therapy. A complete reduction of the edema in the affected limb was found in all the studies. Better results were found in patients who had undergone both procedures. This systematic review suggests that lipoaspiration is recommended for patients with upper extremity lymphedema of any cause in stage two after a long period of compressive therapy that did not produce additional edema reduction.

Keywords: lipoaspiration; lymphedema; plastic surgery; surgery; upper extremity.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Systematic review of the surgical treatment of extremity lymphedema. Carl HM, Walia G, Bello R, et al. J Reconstr Microsurg. 2017;33:412–425. - PubMed
    1. A comprehensive overview on the surgical management of secondary lymphedema of the upper and lower extremities related to prior oncologic therapies. Garza R 3rd, Skoracki R, Hock K, Povoski SP. BMC cancer. 2017;17:468. - PMC - PubMed
    1. A review of lymphedema for the hand and upper-extremity surgeon. Zeltzer AA, Anzarut A, Hamdi M. J Hand Surg Am. 2018;43:1016–1025. - PubMed
    1. Surgical management of inoperable lymphedema: the re-emergence of abandoned techniques. Doscher ME, Herman S, Garfein ES. J Am Coll Surg. 2012;215:278–283. - PubMed
    1. Vascularized lymph node transfer and lymphovenous bypass: novel treatment strategies for symptomatic lymphedema. Silva AK, Chang DW. J Surg Oncol. 2016;113:932–939. - PubMed