For people who suffer from lipedema, the symptoms can be anywhere from uncomfortable to debilitating. Lipedema causes disproportionate fat buildup in the extremities, most significantly affecting the legs. Along with the fat buildup, the affected limb can also feel heavy, experience swelling, and even feel painful. At advanced stages of lipedema, the fat becomes hard, causing severe pain and limiting mobility.
Individual results may vary
There are a few treatment options available for lipedema, including liposuction. Liposuction is a good option for patients to remove the troublesome fat that is causing the symptoms. Improving techniques in recent years in the field of cosmetic surgery allow patients a safer surgery that causes less trauma to the area and provides a faster recovery time.
The tumescent technique is one of the most popular liposuction treatments, gaining in popularity thanks to the many benefits it provides. Tumescent liposuction, unlike traditional liposuction, uses localized anesthetic instead of general anesthesia. The localized anesthetic is much safer to use for patients, causing little to no complications when compared to general anesthesia. Cosmetic surgeons use a tumescent fluid to surround the fat being removed, using a cannula to dislodge it from the connective tissue and then suctioning it away.
With lipedema, there is great concern of damage to the lymphatics. Dr. Wright has developed a technique to identify markers of the lymphatic system and take care to avoid injuring them during the tumescent liposuction procedure on patients with lipedema. The tumescent liposuction technique allows for relatively quick recovery times and is an outpatient procedure.
Lipedema Patient Benefits
All patients should be treated with conservative non-surgical therapies. However, many patients’ symptoms are not adequately controlled by conservative treatments such as compression and manual lymph drainage. For ladies with lipedema who have symptoms that are not adequately controlled with non-surgical treatment, or those who have mobility issues, lymphatic sparing liposuction can benefit them greatly.
Individual results may vary
The timing of liposuction treatment varies from individual to individual. Lipedema may seem initially benign, as the first stage only causes accumulation of fluffy fat and slight signs of swelling and heaviness, but as it progresses, lipedema can cause serious health problems. As this disorder continues, the fat begins to harden, causing increasing levels of swelling and pain. The fat buildup can additionally block the lymphatics in the affected limb, causing secondary lymphedema, which in turn can escalate the symptoms of lipedema.
Thanks to the tumescent technique, many lipedema patients can experience lessening – and even reversal – of symptoms. Studies has shown the improvement in symptoms and swelling is long term and likely lifelong. Tumescent liposuction permanently removes fat through a safe outpatient procedure. Some results are immediate, however, recovery time is a bit longer for patients with lipedema. Because the fat is gone, liposuction with special precautions to spare lymphatic damage can significantly improve mobility issues, especially around the inner thigh and knees.
Find Out If Tumescent Lipo is Right for You
In the past few years, awareness of lipedema has been spreading. This disease is often misunderstood or misdiagnosed, as many doctors and patients have yet to fully understand lipedema. If you have the symptoms associated with lipedema, you should find a cosmetic surgeon who has lots of experience treating the disorder with liposuction to see if a specific lymph sparing tumescent technique could help alleviate your pain and more. Every patient with lipedema doesn’t need to have liposuction. Even though tumescent liposuction is a generally safe outpatient procedure, all surgery has some risk, so each individual needs to consult with a surgeon who has specialized knowledge of the lymphatic system to determine the best course of treatment.
NOTE: Lipidema also has alternate spellings, and may be known as lipoedema – in Canada and the UK – Lipodem – in Germany – or even Lipodema. Each spelling is correct, but one or two spellings are used predominately in different countries.
For more information on Lipedema please visit FatDisorders.org for some valuable information.