It is estimated that one in nine women in the United States may be living with lipedema, but it remains one of the most misunderstood and often underdiagnosed conditions.
Lipedema is a disease of the fatty tissue that usually affects the lower extremities and sometimes the arms. An easily observed symptom is a larger lower body that is disproportionate to the upper body. In some cases, the arms can be disproportionately heavier. For these reasons, lipedema is often confused with obesity. In addition to an unbalanced appearance, troublesome symptoms include tenderness, easy bruising, and sometimes pain.
Lipedema can also be confused with lymphedema, where a blockage in the lymphatic system causes swelling in the arms and legs. An easy way to visually distinguish the two is to look at the person's feet: feet, ankles, wrists, and hands are not affected by lipedema.
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis of lipedema can be made through a physical examination rather than diagnostic tests. Clinical criteria for the diagnosis of the disease include fat distribution between the hips and ankles without involvement of the feet; adipose tissue on the tips of the fingers; and pressure sensitivity.
In the early stages of the disease, the torso may appear thin. As lipoedema progresses, lumps of fatty tissue develop on the thighs above the knee and near the groin. In later stages, small fatty tissues may also develop within the tissue.
Studies show that patients with stage 1 lipedema may experience low body temperature, fatigue, muscle aches, back pain, nasal congestion, visible veins in the legs, bloating and early satiety.
Lipedema in stages 2 and 3 has been associated with unexplained weight gain and muscle weakness. Stage 3 patients have reported heart palpitations, frequent urination, hair loss, shortness of breath, and numbness. As the stage progresses, burning pains, blood clots, obstructive sleep apnea, and flu-like symptoms may occur.
Lipoedema is often misdiagnosed
Many women living with the condition have been misdiagnosed and told they have lymphedema – a condition in which fluid builds up under the skin. Lipoedema, also known as "painful fat syndrome", is a completely different chronic disease.
The disease can be dismissed as obesity, but it has specific symptoms. If you experience these symptoms, it is recommended that you see a physician familiar with lipedema to assess whether you:
- Unusual swelling in the legs and hips
- Fat ring around the ankles
- Chunks of fat on the outer thighs
- lumps of fat on the upper arms
- The feet are not affected
- A disproportionate "tree-like" appearance of the legs
- lump and cellulite
- pain, tenderness
- Decreased Mobility
- Tends to bruises
Hey! My name is Julia. I'm head of plastic surgery at Scarpidis Aesthetics.Feel free to ask me any questions, I'd be happy to help!
What causes lipedema?
Lipoedema usually begins during puberty and progresses throughout life. Fat accumulation can cause emotional anxiety, one of the reasons why individuals are advised to pursue an effective treatment and weight management plan as early as possible.
It is important to recognize that lipedema is not a disease of civilization and therefore cannot be attributed to individuals. The cause of lipedema is not known. A family history of the disease has been reported, so individuals can inherit it from their parents. Predominantly affects women; As it often occurs during puberty, pregnancy or menopause, there is a chance that hormones play a role. The definitive cause is yet to be determined, so the above possible causes are only suspected for now, not confirmed.
Lipedema has been reported in obese, lean, anorexic and healthy weight women. However, the impact on body aesthetics is more pronounced in overweight women.
At Scarpidis Aesthetics, we share information about this underdiagnosed condition and offer to help women who suffer from it finally find relief.
While exercise and a healthy diet can be helpful in the early stages of the disease, liposuction is the preferred solution for treating fat deposits and restoring the appearance of the affected extremities, moving the individual towards a more active and comfortable lifestyle. There are several stages of the disease: mild, moderate and advanced. If you've been diagnosed with Lipedema, we've developed a treatment to help you live a happier, healthier life. Treatment involves the use of advanced tumescent liposuction. The area to be treated is numbed with a local anesthetic so that the experience is comfortable and painless.
What exactly is liposuction?
Everyone seems to get a “lipo” these days! Liposuction is possibly the most requested body remodeling treatment, removing excess fat deposits and refining body contours. Most patients, in pursuit of better health and appearance, prefer liposuction to treat multiple problem areas in one session.
According to the American Board of Plastic Surgery, liposuction is among the top five most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures on women and men. Since the mid-1990s, the number of liposuctions performed has increased by around 134%. While not a treatment for obesity per se, it is an extremely popular choice for addressing the aesthetic issues of this disorder and any condition/disease where excess fat needs to be addressed.
Liposuction was first introduced in 1982 by French surgeon Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz as a solution to eliminate excess fat. It immediately captured the public's imagination and entered the plastic surgery mainstream due to its effectiveness and simplicity. Today, the procedure is used to treat the back, thighs, stomach, chest area, calves, cheeks, arms, hips and buttocks. Lipo is performed as a standalone procedure or in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures such as a tummy tuck, face lift or breast reduction.
In general, the best candidates for liposuction are individuals with isolated areas of fat that are out of proportion to the surrounding areas and that exercise and diet cannot resolve. It is an excellent solution for treating lipedema and our New York office is a trusted location for this, as well as many other cosmetic surgery procedures.
Lipo-Skulptur bei Scarpidis Aesthetics
How is liposculpture different from liposuction? Well, liposuction describes a procedure that removes a significant amount of fat. Liposculpture also removes accumulated fat deposits, but is gentle on lymphatic tissue and reshapes remaining fat to reflect underlying muscle to create a more attractive and athletic appearance whenever possible.
Scarpidis Aesthetics treats lipedema with advanced tumescent liposuction, which requires local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia or intravenous sedatives. The epinephrine in the anesthetic solution causes capillaries to form, so bleeding is minimal during and after surgery. Tumescent liposuction is an advanced technique compared to previous methods that use general anesthesia. It is much less painful, significantly reduces post-operative recovery time and is preferred for optimal cosmetic results.
OurLipedema Liposuction in New Yorkit's not hard to understand. A large amount of a highly diluted local anesthetic is injected into the treatment area. This causes the target area to swell and become solid ("tumescent"). The operation takes between one and three hours. Bruising after surgery is also minimal for two reasons. Blood loss is very small, as there is practically no blood under the skin to cause bruising after the operation. During the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure, a large amount of bloody numbing solution flows from the small incisions. Once the drainage is complete, simply place absorbent pads over the incision sites, which will continue to drain. As bruising and swelling are minimal, the healing process is greatly accelerated.
After your liposculpture at Scarpidis Aesthetics, you'll wear a compression garment for 10-14 days, then part-time for another 10-14 days. You will also be given an antibiotic to take for five days after the procedure.
Liposculpture is a hassle-free treatment option that allows you to get back on your feet within an hour of the procedure. It is recommended that you walk a mile or two afterwards. As mentioned earlier, there is little to no pain after the procedure and you may need some pain relievers at most overnight after liposculpture.
How the procedure is done
Liposculpture is a procedure that removes fat deposits in areas affected by liposuction, sparing the lymphatic tissue. Learn how Dr. Scarpidis offers some of the bestLiposuction New Yorkhas to offer.
To perform the procedure, a large amount of a highly diluted local anesthetic is injected into the area to be treated, along with a drug that shrinks the capillaries. The treated area becomes swollen and firm (tumescent) after anesthesia, eliminating the need for general or intravenous sedation. This procedure is safer for the patient and avoids the many risks of other forms of liposuction. The operation takes about one to three hours.
Creating a balanced body
If you've been diagnosed with lipedema, you may have already had multiple treatments for another condition or simply been ruled out as a result of obesity. This unfortunate situation has plagued many women in New York and across the country who are living with an undiagnosed chronic condition for which effective treatment options exist.
Removing accumulated fat deposits requires an eye toward creating a balanced body image, and at Scarpidis Aesthetics, Dr. Scarpid is proud to be known for his artistry and skill in body sculpting and contouring.
post treatment recovery
After the procedure is complete, excess fluid drains away and the incision points can continue to drain and heal naturally. They wear compression garments continuously for 10 to 14 days and then part-time for the next 10 to 14 days. You will be given an antibiotic for five days after the procedure.
Movement after lipedema treatment
Each patient is able to walk for about an hour after treatment and is encouraged to take a 1- to 2-mile walk as part of their daily routine afterwards.
pain level and treatment
Most people who undergo treatment experience little or no pain afterward, and few need pain medication that night.
When will your results be fully realized?
You can resume full activity within two weeks, and light exercise is recommended before then. The results of the procedure continue to improve as the days go by and the swelling decreases, with the final aesthetic improvement being visible after six to 12 months. After years of dealing with undiagnosed lipedema, these few months can be some of the most exciting months since you developed this painful condition.
Scarpidis Aesthetic: One Level Up
dr Scarpidis is a board certified plastic surgeon who brings great precision and artistry to his craft and is highly respected in the scientific community for having shared his liposuction research at numerous plastic surgery conferences.
To obtain an aesthetically pleasing shape, the plastic surgeon performing liposuction must sculpt a better shape in each area of the body, maintaining balance, contours and proportions. The purpose of liposculpture for treating lipoedema is not only to remove excess fat, but also to refine the body shape. It is by no means a general procedure, but the results depend on the surgeon's skill and ability to produce a noticeable improvement in body contour.
Dr Scarpidis has always amazed his patients, not only with his surgical subtlety and technical precision, but also with his overall approach, which is reflected in every aspect of the patient experience. His practice is dedicated to mastering new advances in plastic surgery and non-invasive treatments for various physical conditions. If this is your first encounter with liposuction, or if you came to our site while researching lipedema treatment online and still haven't decided who you want to work with, consider these points when choosing a surgeon:
- Give due consideration to skill and experience by gaining an understanding of the number of liposuction procedures performed by the surgeon, including reviewing patients' "before" and "after" photos online or in a printed portfolio during your in-person consultation.
- Trust no one but a certified surgeon who has studied and practiced performing liposuction as part of their cosmetic surgery fellowship. You can also rest assured that your procedure will be performed in an accredited surgical center.
- A plastic surgeon is a sculptor who has an innate or acquired sense of aesthetics to achieve the appearance desired by patients. He/she must be able to understand expectations and communicate potential outcomes concisely and clearly.
dr Scarpidis is honest and transparent about the results that liposuction can achieve in your case. He will let you know if you are an ideal candidate who can expect amazing results or if liposuction can only offer limited success and can recommend more suitable options. Don't hesitate to discuss your concerns and ask questions - Dr. Scarpidis and his team will patiently and enthusiastically guide you through the entire process, from the initial consultation to post-operative care.
Can liposuction get rid of lipedema? ›
Liposuction is effective in the treatment of lipedema and leads to an improvement in quality of life and a decrease in the need for conservative therapy.What is the best liposuction for lipedema? ›
Lipedema Lipo Treatment
For many women, the most comprehensive way to treat the symptoms is lymph sparing liposuction. This surgical option is the only one that can remove the abnormal fat of lipedema; however, great care must be taken to spare lymphatic structures when performing lipedema lipo.
It will not completely eliminate it. In most cases, lipedema pain, swelling and bulk stays reduced for many years (and possibly your whole life). However, it is possible lipedema can become worse.Does liposuction make lipedema worse? ›
We do know that traditional liposuction, without special care of the lymphatics or proper tumescent technique, can cause lymphatic damage and possibly worsen lipedema symptoms.How do you break up lipedema fat? ›
Complete decongestive therapy (CDT): is used to treat both lymphedema and lipedema. CDT consists of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), exercise, compression bandaging, compression garments, and skin care. CDT helps lipedema by decongesting swelling, encouraging normal lymphatic vessel pumping, and decreasing pain.How long does liposuction last for lipedema? ›
Compared with the body weight before liposuction, 55% of the patients showed a reduction of 6.2 kg on average and 43.3% had a weight increase with an average of 7.9 kg. Conclusion: The results show, that the positive effects of liposuction last 12 years postoperatively without relevant worsening.Is lipedema treatment covered by insurance? ›
For your lipedema surgery to be covered by insurance, there must be a medical reason to do so. This reason can be the presence of swelling, pain or problems with mobility and other activities of daily living.Can coolsculpting get rid of lipedema? ›
DON'T: Treat Lipedema with Fat Freezing
Fat freezing—also known as cryolipolysis (or Cool Sculpting) uses cold temperature to reduce fat deposits in certain areas of the body. The procedure is designed to reduce localized fat deposits that do not respond to diet and exercise.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a highly specialized massage technique performed on lymphedema and lipedema patients to help manage painful symptoms. If you're suffering from common complications associated with either disorder, such as discomfort and swelling, lymphatic drainage massage is sure to rub you the right way.Is lipedema surgery worth it? ›
Even when multiple surgeries are required, lipedema surgery is usually considered to be well worth it. "We tend to see our patients' pain, swelling, and fatigue resolve, and their mobility and activity level increase," says Dr. Jaime Schwartz, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California.
What triggers lipedema? ›
The exact cause of lipedema is unknown. But the condition runs in families and may be inherited. The condition occurs almost exclusively in people assigned female at birth, and usually starts or gets worse at the time of puberty, pregnancy or menopause. Because of this, there is likely a connection to hormones.Can lipedema go away with weight loss? ›
Lipoedema patients can lose weight too. The legs will still look different to the upper body, even after weight reduction, but the symptoms are reduced.”Can lipedema cause belly fat? ›
Patients with lipedema (or lipoedema) can experience an abnormal buildup of body fat in different areas of the body. While this accumulation of lipedema fat occurs most in the legs, thighs, and arms, areas such as the stomach and the hips are possible too.Can you get rid of lipedema without surgery? ›
Treatment for Lipedema
Lipedema is a chronic condition with no cure. At Stanford, we offer therapies and surgery to improve symptoms, reduce leg size, and provide ongoing care and management. Surgical treatment (tumescent liposuction and reductive surgery) is the most effective treatment to remove the fatty tissue.
- manual lymph drainage therapists who gently open lymphatic channels and move the lymphatic fluid using hands-on techniques.
- exercise including whole body vibration and swimming, exercises that have been proven to move lymphatic fluid.
Tumescent liposuction, which uses a solution injected into the tissue to decrease pain and bleeding, has become a standard procedure in surgical treatment of lipedema.What vitamins help lipedema? ›
Vitamin D3: Lipedema patients are typically deficient with Vitamin D, an essential supplement that plays a critical role with your immune system. It also helps your bone, muscle, and nervous system health.How many pounds of fat can be removed with liposuction? ›
What Is the Maximum Amount of Fat That Can Be Removed With Liposuction? Generally speaking, the maximum amount of fat that can be removed with liposuction is 5000 ml. That's roughly 11 pounds on the scale. This amount is actually quite significant.How many sizes do you go down after liposuction? ›
Ultimately, the most you can lose with liposuction is likely to be about two dress sizes, which is a significant change. This is why so many patients in The Woodlands choose liposuction to help enhance their body shape.What does Stage 3 lipedema mean? ›
stage 3. Large extrusion of fat tissue causing deformations especially on the thighs and around the knees. Large extrusions of fat tissue causing buildup from buttocks to knees, with folds of fat around the inner side of the knee.
Can you get disability for lipedema? ›
While there's no cure for the condition, there are a number of treatments that can help a patient cope with the discomfort until the limbs return to normal. Patients with chronic lymphedema, resulting in recurrent episodes that make it difficult to work, may be able to get Social Security disability for the condition.What happens if lipedema is left untreated? ›
If lipedema is not treated, complications that are detrimental to mental health and life-threatening can occur. These complications include mental problems such as eating disorders and generalized complications including hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure.What makes lipedema worse? ›
However, lipedema frequently does worsen with time due to the general trend toward increasing body weight and obesity (which is itself a progressive disease) with age. Psychological distress is often also a progressive disorder, one that typically amplifies feelings of pain and diminishes willpower and general health.Why does mucinex help lipedema? ›
It is thought guaifenesin may be working as a muscle relaxant effect that occurs in these conditions. Mucinex / guaifenesin may help pain or it may work as an expectorant in lipedema tissue and thin out extracellular proteins.Can you massage away lipedema? ›
If you're living with lymphedema, lipedema, or a similar condition, you can take steps to get relief from pain and the other symptoms at home. Lymphatic massage can be used to relieve the swelling in your arms, legs, or other affected areas. The technique works by helping to promote lymphatic drainage.Can you tone lipedema legs? ›
Good for toning the whole body, front and backstroke swimming is a great exercise for lipedema patients. Increasing and or maintaining muscle mass is very important for lymph circulation and overall mobility. Make sure you utilize both your arms and legs when swimming.Does lipedema go away with weight loss? ›
Lipoedema patients can lose weight too. The legs will still look different to the upper body, even after weight reduction, but the symptoms are reduced.”Can you surgically remove lipedema? ›
Lipedema reduction surgery is a standard method of improving the lives of patients with lipedema in Germany and is now being performed in the USA. Lipedema reduction surgery includes suction-assisted lipectomy (liposuction) modified to reduce injury to lymphatic vessels and manual extraction or excision.