Lipedema: background and treatment options
Lipedema is a condition characterized by bilateral, symmetric enlargement of the legs, hips and buttocks due to abnormal deposition of subcutaneous fat in combination with edema. The fat has an abnormal structure which makes it immune to removal by diet and exercise, thus women with lipedema (the condition occurs only in women) may be slender from the waist up but still have large lower extremities. Due to widespread lack of knowledge about this condition, the majority of people, including many health professionals and patients themselves, do not understand the dynamics of lipedema. This can cause misdiagnosis and ineffective management on the part of the provider and frustration and discouragement for the patient.
Fortunately, at this time we are beginning to see some positive developments in the recognition and treatment of lipedema. Manual lymphatic drainage and compression therapy are helpful for reducing edema and discomfort in the affected area, and for maintaining the legs and hips in the best state achievable without surgical intervention. But these measures are not a cure.
Increasingly it is being shown that specialized liposuction to remove the pathologically altered fat ("bad fat"), in combination with MLD exercise and appropriate compression, can eliminate the condition or permanently reduce it to a great degree.
Please check back for additional information on this topic. Or feel free to contact me directly with questions.