Lipedema: Treatment and Interesting Facts
Many people, especially women, suffer from lipedema. However, few people know that it is this disease and what they can do about it.
We explain what you need to know about lipedema and how the treatment works.
What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a condition in which there is a fat distribution disorder. This is manifested by the formation of symmetrical fat deposits. In this case, the hips, legs and buttocks are disproportionate compared to the upper body. In contrast, in the area of the ankles and feet such fat accumulation is not visible.
Lipedema is a disease that occurs more frequently in women. Both overweight and normal weight people can suffer from lipedema.
Excellent Lipedema Treatment
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1. What are the Symptoms of Lipedema
Aside from the obvious, visual aspects, lipedema can cause other symptoms, such as:
- Shifting pain
- Swollen legs (irregular) – popularly known as “elephant legs
- A limited mobility
- Mental complaints
Determine Lipedema: Diagnosis
The disease is still relatively unknown today and is therefore often not recognized properly or only very late. Lipedema diagnosis should be made by an experienced specialist.
2. Lipedema: Course and Stages
The first signs of lipedema are often seen during puberty. Especially after pregnancy or during menopause, lipedema symptoms may increase.
The course of lipedema disease is divided into three stages. These are defined according to the size of the fat deposits as well as the skin texture:
- Lipedema Stage 1: Here, some fat lumps can already be felt under the skin. However, the skin texture is still inconspicuous and the subcutaneous fat (fat underneath the skin) has a soft texture.
- Lipedema Stage 2: The fat lumps under the skin become larger and larger, and the surface of the skin also becomes harder and more irregular.
- Lipedema Stage 3: The fat lumps under the skin become even larger and form a jagged skin relief. This leads to the so-called cellulite. Also, fat pads rise above the normal level of the skin. Now there is protrusion, especially on the thighs and knees. These limit the mobility.
3. Classification: Five Types of Lipedema
Five different clinical types are distinguished in lipedema:
- Type 1: Lipedema of the buttocks and thighs
- Type 2: Lipedema up to the knees with swelling on their inner sides
- Type 3: Lipedema from the hips to the ankles
- Type 4: Lipedema of arms and legs
- Type 5: Lipolymphedema: the fat distribution disorder can influence the lymph flow, causing this combined condition.
4. Treat Lipedema: Therapy
There are both non-surgical and surgical methods for treating lipedema. You should fully explore these non-surgical treatment options with your family doctor.
Non-Surgical Treatment of Lipedema
Non-surgical treatment options can reduce the pain resulting from lipedema in particular. It can also reduce the circumference of the extremities (by up to ten percent according to recent studies). However, reduction or complete elimination of fat deposits is not possible with non-surgical therapy.
Non-surgical therapy includes:
- Lymphatic drainage
- Compression therapy
- Careful skin care
Surgical lipedema treatment by a specialist in plastic and aesthetic surgery, on the other hand, offers more extensive options.
Surgical Treatment of Lipedema
To treat lipedema, liposuction of the legs is recommended. Thereby can:
- the excess fat be removed
- the balance between the upper and lower body be restored
- the previously limited mobility be improved
Lipedema surgery” is a targeted liposuction procedure. Subsequently, it is often possible to significantly reduce or even completely stop the aforementioned compression therapies and lymphatic drainage. Thus, the overall situation of those affected improves.
5. Lipedema Frequently Asked Questions
Before liposuction can be performed to treat lipedema, certain aspects must be clarified. If venous diseases or obesity are present, these underlying diseases must first be treated. In some cases, lymphedema is present in addition to lipedema. If this is the case, lymphatic surgical treatment options may be considered in addition to liposuction.
Cost absorption by health insurance companies is only possible in exceptional cases. Thus, stage 3 lipedema must be present and conservative treatment methods must have been exhausted for at least six months. Furthermore, the body mass index must be below 35. With a BMI above 35, obesity requires additional treatment, and with a BMI above 40, liposuction is prohibited.
Before lipedema surgery is performed, the health insurance company should already have approved the costs. Since we are a purely private practice and do not have a health insurance fund, we can only operate on privately insured patients with a positive cost approval or on patients who wish to have the procedure performed as part of a self-pay service.
Do you suffer from lipedema and would like to have it treated by liposuction? Make an appointment with Dr. Sattler – he will advise you in detail and show you all treatment options.
If your health insurance does not cover the cost of treatment, it is still worth performing this procedure. You save a lot of money on plus size clothing and the improved mobility leads to more enjoyment of life as well as quality of life.
Arrange your personal consultation
Dr. Sattler would be pleased to talk to you about the treatment options for lipedema. Please contact us.