Is it possible lipedema is returning post liposuction?

I had liposuction on both ankles in October 2013 to treat Stage 1 lipedema. The left ankle was very successful. I had a second procedure on my right leg in February this year. I still have some swelling in my right ankle four months on, not helped by a seroma that developed post the procedure. What I have noticed is that my left ankle is also regularly swollen and puffy and seems to be retaining fluid. Is this normal given the issues with my right ankle or is it a sign that the lipedema is returning?

Doctor Answers 2

Swelling After Ankle Lipedema Liposuction

The swelling in this area can last for months to years after liposuction, but really should have resolved.  Once fat is removed in ares of lipedema ("lippy fat") its rare to see it ever return, and the early symptoms should be gone.  I suggest an evaluation for lower extremity edema and consider compression stockings for a while and/or MLD therapy.  Exercising the calves with weights, jumping rope and other fitness type exercises can help.  Please see a lipedema specialist.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Liposuction to treat lipidema of lower legs

Thank you for asking about your lipidema.

  • Lipidema a non-medical term (not recognized in peer reviewed PubMed searches) meaning excessive fat, usually seen in the lower legs, sometimes the arms.
  • It is more common in women.
  • Lipidema is a diagnosis of exclusion - the veins, arteries, circulation and lymphatics have to be shown to be normal as they are more common causes of leg swelling.
  • If your swelling after liposuction is less in the morning, worse in the evening, it is not fat returning but excess fluid.
  • Knee high, custom made Jobst or other compression stockings will reduce the swelling and improve the circulation.
  • Even with these it may take 6 - 18 months for ankle swelling to subside after lower leg surgery.
  • If you are overweight, while waiting for the swelling to subside, see if leg weights and calorie restriction lead to better circulation and loss of fat from the legs.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Hope you found this answer helpful. Best wishes.

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.