Does anyone here even know what LIPEDEMA is?
Doctor Answers 2
What is Lipedema
Lipedema is a very under-recognized fat storage condition that was identified in the 1940’s at the Mayo Clinic. It is among several fat storage diseases that we do learn about in medical school such as Dercum’s disease and Madlungs disease. Lipedema, however has been unfortunately ignored for many years, although with increased awareness that has started to change. It usually presents in puberty during teenage years and commonly runs in families. It tends to progressively gets worse throughout a person’s lifetime, usually very slowly. Although, many times it increases in activity of the condition itself with hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menopause or OB/GYN surgery. It is not responsive to diet or exercise. Common symptoms are usually pain, swelling, increased bruisability. There is a typical pattern to lipedema, a column like look to the legs from the groin area all the way down to the ankle area. The upper buttocks and hip area are often times involved as well as the upper arms and forearm area. It is non-responsive to diet and exercise and there seems to be an increased activity of it with certain dietary components such as gluten. Typically, gluten-free diets are recommended for lipedema patients along with either ketogenic of paleo diets. Compression therapy helps with the swelling, but doesn’t change the underlying process of the condition. As time goes on, there is an increased inflammation, increased scar tissue we call fibrosis that can eventually lead into later stages of lipedema and cause damage to the lymphatics, lipo-lymphedema. Properly done lymphatic sparing liposuction by someone that is extremely experienced with lipedema is the only real treatment that sets back lipedema. It gives an improvement not only in a cosmetic result, but actually symptom improvement and disease prevention. The current approach of using a form of liposuction is a safer and a better way to approach lipedema, but the proper surgery and technique is much more about the skills and understanding of the surgeon rather than exactly what particular device the surgeon is using. I wish you the best of luck with your care. If you have any questions, please contact my practice.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.