Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL) – How It Works
Lipedema is a chronic affliction that mostly plagues females. In fact, nearly 11% of women suffer from lipedema.
What Is Lipedema?
The first symptoms of Lipedema include an irregular distribution of fatty tissues beneath the skin. This usually is found in the lower half of the body, such as the buttocks and legs. While the upper part of the torso may be small, even slender, the bottom part of the body can appear to be double that size, creating an irregular, bottom-heavy appearance. The legs may look overly swollen, almost like tree stumps, except for the feet, which can remain normal in size.
The disease may first be thought of as a cosmetic issue, but over time it can become painful and create other issues in the body. The fatty deposits can keep building, and the lipedemic tissue may begin collecting in the arms. Eventually, these fat cells can block lymphatic vessels, preventing lymph fluid drainage and encouraging infections to develop. The lymphatic fluid build-up is called lymphedema.
If lipedema is not treated, and lymphedema develops, any wounds incurred may no longer heal properly, infections may develop, and scar-like tissue (fibrosis) and hardened skin can form in the legs. These complications of lipedema can limit someone’s activities of daily living, making it difficult for them to perform everyday tasks such as dressing or bathing due to their compromised mobility.
Water Assisted Liposuction
One of the more effective ways of surgically treating lipedema is with Water Assisted Liposuction, also known as WAL. During a Water Assisted Liposuction procedure, lipedema tissue is removed with the use of a hollow tube placed beneath the skin to suction the offending fat cells. With a WAL procedure, a fan-shaped water jet disperses a slightly pressurized saline stream to gently break up the fat and remove those cells.
Utilizing a WAL procedure leads to less trauma of the area’s surrounding blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Water Assisted Liposuction also accomplishes the following when compared to conventional liposuction methods:
- The healing process is more rapid
- Local anesthesia places less stress on the lymphatic system
- There is less pain and discomfort
- Surrounding tissues are not damaged
- Complication risks are alleviated
In order to be a good candidate for Water Assisted Liposuction, Marcia V. Byrd, M.D. of The Lipedema Liposuction Center finds that those people should:
- Be in good physical shape
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Have tried and cannot reduce fatty deposits on their own
- Not have any medication interactions that will increase risks
- Have realistic expectations regarding the outcomes of WAL
Marcia V. Byrd, M.D., a physician who studied with one of the creators of liposuction, is located in Roswell, Georgia. The Lipedema Liposuction Center serves patients living in the surrounding areas of Alpharetta, Suwanee, Canton, Sandy Springs, and Dunwoody as well as patients from out of town.
This informational article does not take the place of professional medical advice. If you have concerns about lipedema, please call our staff with questions or make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Byrd or a physician in your area.