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Living with Lipedema

There’s nothing more frustrating than sticking closely to an exercise routine and never deviating from a diet without any results to show for it. While some may attribute this scenario to a subpar attempt at fighting fat, for many, there is an underlying medical reason that weight isn’t being lost despite a concentrated effort. When diet and exercise aren’t doing the trick and in some cases, weight continues to accumulate over time, it’s time to look more closely at what could be causing this to happen.

Troubling Signs and Symptoms

Nearly 17-million women in the U.S. and nearly 370 million women across the globe suffer from a condition known as Lipedema. What is regularly associated with unruly weight gain in its initial stages can quickly spiral out of control if left undiagnosed. Often striking in a woman’s mid-20s, Lipedema is a disease that leads to the excessive buildup of fat cells primarily in the arms and legs. Going far beyond the appearance of extra pounds, those who suffer from Lipedema often present with pockets of fat on the limbs that appear disproportionate in comparison to the rest of the body.

Women suffering from Lipedema often report the disease in association with painful symptoms that trigger difficulties dealing with everyday life activities. Excessive swelling often comes with pain, numbness, and bruising. In its advanced stages, Lipedema can impact mobility and provokes vascular and lymphatic swelling which can lead to further medical complications.

Finding a Solution

Lipedema is often misdiagnosed as standard obesity, leaving patients to deal with an endless cycle of disappointment and on-going pain as symptoms continue and weight refuse to fall off. Unfortunately, Lipedema does not respond to an altered diet or increased exercise and ultimately requires cosmetic intervention in order to alleviate the appearance and pain of symptoms. Patients often report that the road to their initial diagnosis is an uphill battle. Women with Lipedema are typically diagnosed by their primary care provider with traditional obesity, and all treatment methods follow this diagnosis.

Unfortunately, as any Lipedema specialist will tell you, this treatment proves ineffective, and leaves women with Lipedema without answers, without a solution, and with continued pain and continued frustration as their Lipedema continues to progress. Liposuction performed on the affected limbs is generally the most effective form of treatment. Removing fat deposits that are diseased not only helps reduce swelling of the limbs but alleviates the pain that holds patients back from everyday activities. But before women with Lipedema and even consider these procedures and treatment options, they must first find a doctor who is an expert in this field and start with a proper diagnosis of the disease.

Selecting Expert Care

When it comes to liposuction specific to treating women with Lipedema, an experienced physician is required to perform the procedure successfully. While 93% of doctors and nurses are not aware of Lipedema or the symptoms it causes, experts in this field are working diligently to advance the field and continue finding the best methods of care. Advanced technique and precision planning are both required to remove diseased fat deposits and achieve long-term results, and as a result, the best way to find solutions is to partner with an experienced Lipedema healthcare provider. Women suffering from Lipedema should always take the time to ensure they are under the care of a physician who specializes in Lipedema treatment and is willing to work closely with their patients to create customized treatment options.

Starting Treatment for Lipedema

Once you’ve been properly diagnosed by a doctor specializing in Lipedema, patients are commended to start with conservative and non-surgical treatment methods. While lymph-sparing liposuction for Lipedema is the only effective way to stall or stop the progression of Lipedema, non-surgical methods allow the patient and their doctor to first determine what their specific symptoms may be responsive to.

Conservative methods for treatment Lipedema will include practices such as:

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (referred to as MLD).
  • Adopting a diet focused on low levels of carbohydrates and limited refined foods.
  • Beginning and maintaining regular exercise activity that’s low impact, such as water exercise.
  • Read more about the different types and benefits of non-surgical treatments here

Lymph Sparing Liposuction for Lipedema

For most, lymph sparing liposuction will be the most effective and long-lasting treatment option for women with Lipedema. After regular practice of the available conservative Lipedema treatments, Lipedema experts may recommend a surgical plan for addressing the affected areas based on their patient’s specific needs. Lymph sparing liposuction has been shown to improve the quality of life of patients post-surgery, improve their pain long-term, increase mobility, and provide access to a new, more active lifestyle than they’ve previously known. Read more about surgical treatment options for living with Lipedema here

Helpful Guide to Treating Lipedema

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Meet Dr. Wright

Dr. Wright

Meet Dr. Thomas Wright, medical director of Laser Lipo and Vein Center. Dr. Wright is a board certified Phlebologist and cosmetic surgery specialist, with over 15 years of practicing experience. A graduate of the University of Missouri Columbia medical program, Dr. Wright was one of the first two hundred surgeons to become a diplomate in Phlebology.

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* Results May Vary From Person to Person