Lipedema – Alternate International Spellings: Lipoedema, Lipodem, and Lipodema – is a fat disorder that affects the extremities of patients, particularly the legs, thighs, and buttocks. It causes a disproportionate buildup of fat in the affected limbs, leading to a situation where the patient can have up to ten clothing sizes of difference between their upper and lower body.
As awareness of lipedema spreads throughout the medical community, many different treatment options have been devised to help combat this disease. Though it is not fully understood what causes lipedema, it is still possible to provide patients with relief from its symptoms – lipedema causes pain and swelling, in addition to the accumulation of fat. The treatment options below represent some of the more effective ways of treating this disorder.
At Home Treatments
Exercise – Exercising is one of the most effective ways of improving health in general, and has many benefits for lipedema patients. Exercise helps to burn fat, as well as increase flexibility and mobility. Exercise will be part of most treatment plans for lipedema.
Water Exercise – Water exercise carries the same benefits as traditional exercise methods, all while being low-impact. A water exercise regimen will be very effective for patients who experience pain as a symptom, as the water helps to cushion impact to the joints and provide a safe environment.
Compression Garments – Worn over the affected limb or limbs, compression garments help to improve the flow of fluid, including blood and lymph fluids. The added pressure helps to prevent swelling in the limb also provides slightly improved healing due to the increased blood flow.
IPC – Intermittent pneumatic compression pumps (IPC’s) utilize massage therapy in a similar manner to manual lymphatic drainage techniques used in doctor’s offices. This take-home device allows patients to experience the benefits of massaging lymph drainage from the comfort of their own living room or bed.
CDT – Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is a multi-step treatment plan designed to provide the best non-surgical treatment for lipedema. CDT uses many of the other techniques to treat lipedema – exercise, compression garments, IPC’s – and combines them with manual lymphatic drainage massage to maximize symptom relief.
In Office Treatments
Tumescent Liposuction – The tumescent liposuction technique uses special tumescent solution to surround the fat being extracted, then suction it out using a small cannula. Using localized anesthetic instead of general anesthesia, this lipo technique removes fat with minimal trauma and recovery time.
Water Assisted Liposuction – Similar to the tumescent liposuction technique, water assisted liposuction uses localized anesthesia. However, this technique uses a pressurized stream of tumescent solution to dislodge fat, instead of a cannula, making it the gentlest lipo technique to date.
For more information on Lipedema please visit FatDisorders.org Blog for some valuable information.