Lipoedema is a chronic, often progressive disorder of fat distribution in the body; it is not only an optical flaw, but also a disease. It affects almost exclusively women, especially the lower part of the body, i.e. the limbs. The result is a symmetrical fat distribution disorder in the area of the buttocks, breeches, and upper and usually lower part of the legs down to the ankle, not including the feet. However, in 60% of cases, patients’ arms can also be affected, especially the upper arm area.
Patients with Lipoedema tend to be very hematoma prone (quick and easy bruising). Furthermore, water retention will develop in the affected areas, accompanied with a particularly dull soreness and tenderness to touch, and are common signs of a Lipoedema. In terms of physical appearance, what is striking is the mismatch between the slim upper body and very strong legs; individuals must often buy two dress sizes greater for the lower body as for the upper body. A distinction must be made between lipoedema and “normal overweight” (obesity) or normal variants of nature that affect the body contour (for example, riding pants).
The conservative forms of treatment available are the consistent use of compression stockings (up to compression class 4), combined with sports, manual lymphatic drainage and functional lymphological practicing procedures. In particular, since in a Lipodemes progress often also for lymphedema and thus leads to additional water retention in the legs is a fairly early therapy useful. If the conservative method does not sufficiently work, an alternative is liposuction, which has proven to be a very good surgical therapy. The reason this approach usually has successful results is because the edema cannot always successfully be removed by diet, exercise or medicinal measures. A significant success is usually seen in relatively early surgical intervention in terms of a liposuction, along with conservative forms of therapy. When these procedures are not made or stringently followed, a chronic progress of the disease can also lead to the so-called “elephantiasis” in certain extreme cases. This represents the extreme form of a Lipodemes with lipedema, in which the lower extremities are enlarged and thickened dramatically, changing the leg shape, and ultimately leading to pronounced orthopedic problems. Carefully and conscientiously performed liposuction helps the circulation of lymph and venous system of the lower extremities improve, relieving pressure in the tissue, which in turn contributes to the relief of the disturbed capillary function. Unfortunately, sometimes several sessions are required to achieve a permanently satisfactory result. Regardless of the surgical procedure, it is important to consistently wear compression garments.
We would be happy to further inform you in detail about this disease. Some health insurances cover and approve the implementation of this kind of intervention in certain cases. The healing procedure after such surgery, and the rules of conduct are similar to those of liposuction.