Treating Lipoedema: What Can You Do?

Lipoedema is a chronic condition that affects the legs, arms, and sometimes the torso of women. It is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fat cells in these areas, causing them to become enlarged and painful. While it is not life-threatening, it can cause physical and emotional distress due to its visible effects.

Symptoms

The primary symptoms of lipoedema include swollen legs or arms, pain in the affected areas, dimpling of the skin when pressure is applied, and easy bruising. In some cases, the condition may also cause a feeling of heaviness in the limbs.

Causes

The exact cause of lipoedema is unknown; however, it appears to be linked to hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy. Additionally, some genetic factors may play a role in its development.

Differences between Lipoedema and Lymphoedema

Lipoedema should not be confused with lymphoedema – a similar condition that occurs when lymph vessels are blocked or damaged. The main difference between these two conditions is that lipoedema involves an abnormal accumulation of fat cells while lymphoedema involves an abnormal accumulation of fluid.

Lipoedema treatment involves lifestyle advice, referral to a specialist team, and the Lipomatic procedure to remove fat, improve body shape, reduce pain, and improve self-esteem. Recovery includes wearing compression garments and avoiding strenuous activity.

Lipoedema Treatment

As Lipoedema is a chronic condition, it requires ongoing management and treatment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidelines to help manage the condition. These include lifestyle advice such as exercise, massage, compression garments, and appropriate nutrition. Additionally, NICE recommends that people with Lipoedema should be referred to a specialist multidisciplinary team for assessment and management of their condition.

Lipomatic Procedure

The Lipomatic procedure is a surgical technique used to treat Lipoedema. It involves the removal of excess fat from affected areas using liposuction techniques. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and usually takes around two hours to complete. During the procedure, excess fat is removed from the legs, arms or abdomen using a small tube called a cannula. This tube is inserted through tiny incisions in the skin and suction is used to remove the fat cells from the area. The removed fat cells are then processed and injected back into other parts of the body to create a smoother contour.

Benefits of the Procedure

The main benefit of this procedure is that it can reduce the amount of fat in affected areas, resulting in improved body shape and contour. It can also reduce pain associated with Lipoedema as well as improve mobility by reducing swelling in affected areas. Additionally, it can help improve self-esteem by providing an improved aesthetic appearance.

Recovery Aftercare

Following the procedure, patients may experience some bruising and swelling which should subside within a few days. Patients should wear compression garments for several weeks after surgery to help reduce swelling and speed up recovery time. Additionally, patients should avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks following surgery to allow adequate healing time. Finally, regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider are recommended in order to monitor progress and ensure that any complications are addressed promptly.

Conclusion

Lipoedema is a common but relatively unknown disorder of the lymphatic system. It is characterised by an abnormal accumulation of fat in the legs, arms and buttocks. The condition can cause severe pain and discomfort, as well as impairing movement and mobility. In some cases, lipoedema can lead to secondary lymphedema.

The treatment for lipoedema is based on the NICE guidelines which recommend lifestyle changes, compression garments and physiotherapy. However, these treatments are not always effective in controlling the symptoms and reducing the fat accumulation.

The Lipomatic procedure is a newer treatment option which involves surgically removing excess fat from the affected areas using liposuction techniques. This procedure has been shown to be effective in reducing fat accumulation and improving mobility in patients with lipoedema. Recovery aftercare following this procedure should include rest, compression garments and gentle exercise to help reduce swelling and promote healing.

In conclusion, lipoedema is a complex condition which can cause significant physical and psychological distress for those affected by it. While lifestyle changes and physiotherapy may provide some relief, surgical procedures such as the Lipomatic procedure may be necessary to achieve the desired outcomes. With appropriate care and support from medical professionals, those living with lipoedema can manage their condition effectively and improve their quality of life.