Caution on Liposuction for RAD PatientsBy
The 2-day 3rd Annual FDRS Conference was a huge hit with amazing speakers from all over the US, as well as from Germany. One speaker in particular has sparked a lot of discussion among RAD patients– Dr. Stefan Rapprich from Darmsdadt, Germany. Dr. Rapprich spoke about his method for treating lipedema patients with liposuction. His treatment is referred to as liposuction using tumescent local anesthesia with a vibrating micro cannula. The patient is actually awake and assists during the procedure, and his data suggest that he can remove and prevent the return of lipedema with almost no side effects, based on 15 years of practicing this procedure.
Dr. Rapprich indicated that not every lipedema patient is a suitable candidate for the treatment (the earlier stage and younger the patient, the better), that multiple treatments are often required over a series of many months (as many as 5 treatments), and that each treatment must be followed by a strict regimen of MLD therapy and compression for 4-6 weeks and periodically thereafter, as needed.
Dr. Rapprich mentioned one other surgeon in the US who is familiar with and able to perform this procedure and that is Dr. William Hanke in Indianapolis, IN. http://www.cwmhanke.com/lipo.html
Dr. Karen Herbst conducted a short phone interview with Dr. Hanke recently. When asked whether any surgeons in the US are able to perform the tumescent liposuction procedure similar to Dr. Rapprich, Dr. Hanke replied that “There are not many doctors that want to get into the kind of work that Stefan does. They will pretend to address this problem but no one will get the results that Stefan can.” Dr. Hanke also mentioned that “At that level of expertise (that Stefan has), there is not another name that I can give to you to equal the work that Dr. Rapprich performs. In fact, I could provide only a couple of other names in Germany (for surgeon’s knowledgeable with Stefan’s technique and lipedema). Even Stefan’s results are not perfect.”
As a guide, the FDRS would like to caution everyone with lipedema and Dercum’s disease considering undergoing liposuction to do their homework and make sure that their surgeon has an understanding of liposuction using tumescent local anesthesia and will work tediously to spare the lymphatic system. Consider asking your surgeon to review your case with Dr. Rapprich. http://www.scribd.com/doc/54036724/Stefan-Rapprich
Remember that in the United States, liposuction for lipedema or Dercum’s disease, in many cases, is not covered by insurance.
Karen L. Herbst, Ph.D., M.D.
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