WHAT IS LIPOEDEMA
Lipoedema is a condition that causes a build-up of abnormal fat in the legs (and rarely the arms). This creates a disproportionate appearance to the body. It affects up to 11% of men.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF LIPOEDEMA?
The exact cause of lipoedema is unknown, but genetics may play a part, as often family members suffer the same condition. Hormones are probably a major factor since the incidence of lipoedema starts after puberty and increases after pregnancy, menopause and gynaecological surgery.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LIPOEDEMA?
The most obviously symptom with lipoedema is the overall abnormal body proportions seen in patients with extremes often revealing a size 8/10 waist with a size 16 or bigger hips/buttock/thigh i.e. the extreme “pear shape”.
As the condition progresses patients also experience
A soft, “dough-like”, cold feeling to the affected skin (beginning in upper legs and may eventually progress to the lower leg). Pressing the skin doesn’t cause residual indenting or pitting.
- Bruises to the area
- Surface veins
- Mobility issues as the legs enlarge
- Aching legs
- Psychological and poor self esteem
It should be noted that obesity affects the entire body, lipoedema targets the upper thigh and may progress to include the lower legs and arms.
IS LIPOEDEMA THE SAME AS LYMPHOEDEMA?
NO, they are completely separate conditions, but severe lipoedema can develop a degree of lymphedema as the expanding fat cell distribution starts to disrupt the lymphatic flow. Lymphoedema is thus a condition where the lymphatic system does not flow freely which leads to a build-up of fluid that collects in the lower leg, calves and feet. If this tissue is pressed it pits. In addition, lipoedema is now improved by elevating the legs or resting overnight, unlike lymphoedema. Over time lymphoedema can lead to infections, delayed wound healing, scar like tissue to the legs that appears as toughened skin. Lymphoedema also often effects just one limb, especially if related to surgery whilst lipedema will affect both.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF LIPOEDEMA?
Lipoedema has been classified into 4 stages depending upon the severity of symptoms.
Stage 1 – an uneven skin surface with a thickened hypodermis
Stage 2 – an uneven skin surface with a nodular/thick irregular appearance of the subcutaneous tissue, lipomas or angiolipomas
Stage 3 – large deposits of nodular fat causing a severe contour deformity of the thighs and extending around the knees
Stage 4 – the presence of lymphoedema
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR LIPOEDEMA?
There is no specific cure for the condition, however a variety of measures may help to control symptoms and holt the progression of the disease. These include ensuring that overall body weight is controlled through diet and exercise as patients must avoid obesity, the use of compression tights especially if lymphoedema is present, and finally tumescent liposculpture to remove the abnormal fat and restore proportion.
It should be understood that the more severe the case the greater the possibility that multiple surgeries may need to be had to reach the ultimate desired effect. In addition, there are special consideration with regards to the surgical procedure and recovery unique to the lipoedema patient. For this reason, only experienced tumescent liposuction doctors should be sought for surgical treatment.
PERTH LIPOSUCTION CENTRE AND LIPOEDEMA
Our doctor has been performing liposuction for over 24 years. She has successfully treated hundreds of lipoedema patients from stage 1 to stage 4. Being female, and personally at risk of developing lipoedema into menopause has made her understanding of the condition at a physical and psychological level unique. She is well aware of all the special considerations related to liposuction of the lipoedema patient from intraoperative techniques to postop healing.
Dr Argie likes to work with her patients to help achieve the best possible outcomes for each individual safely whilst being able to relate realistic outcomes. Perth Liposuction Centre having its own Day Hospital licence ensures safety, privacy and a personalized approach. If you suffer lipoedema, then it’s worth at least a consultation to see what can be done for your case.