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Papers of the Week

2020 Jun 04




Novel Use of a Closed Liposuction System: Treatment of an Acute Morel-Lavallée Lesion of the Upper Extremity.


Patel A, Wee C, Ng MK, Kumar A, Harvey D
Cureus. 2020 Jun 04; 12(6):e8437.
PMID: 32642352.


Morel-Lavallée lesions (MLL) are closed post-traumatic soft tissue shear injuries that occur between fascial planes and may result in tissue loss. Current treatment options for MLL include percutaneous drainage and open irrigation and debridement. A few cases of suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL) have been described for subacute and chronic MLL of the lower extremity. We present the first case report of using a closed SAL system to treat an acute MLL of the upper extremity. A 78-year-old female with right forearm MLL presented after blunt force trauma while on apixaban. After inpatient monitoring and anticoagulant drug clearance, a closed system SAL was performed to evacuate the hematoma and prevent ischemia of overlying soft tissues. Treatment outcomes were measured by clinical exam and CT imaging. Pre-operative diagnostic CT scan demonstrated a 4.8 x 6.6 x 13 cm fluid collection between fascial layers of the right forearm. SAL resulted in the evacuation of 300 cc of coagulated blood. Post-operative CT imaging of the right upper extremity did not show any measurable fluid collection. Clinical exam demonstrated resolution of swelling and soft tissue compromise. The patient reported significant pain reduction, resumed her anticoagulation, and was discharged home. There were no notable complications at her three month post-operative visit. Consideration of a constant low-pressure SAL system can successfully treat MLL in the acute period. This system is relatively minimally invasive, results in faster healing times compared to open debridement, and still results in effective hematoma evacuation.