The first step in lipedema treatment is in getting a proper diagnosis from a trained and experienced lipedema specialist. Marcia V. Byrd, M.D. is the Medical Director of The Lipedema Surgery Center. Dr. Byrd is a pioneer in minimally invasive anti-aging procedures and techniques and is heralded as a leader in the field of aesthetic enhancements. She has performed thousands of lipedema surgeries in her 30 year career. For more information about The Lipedema Surgery Center click here.
- Diet – An anti-inflammatory diet is recommend which is made up of more fruits and vegetables, lean protein. Avoid processed and pre-made foods. Avoid saturated fats and meats. Add natural anti-inflammatories, like garlic and turmeric.
- Exercise – Regular, low-impact exercise can help to manually force inflammatory products in the tissues out of the legs. Exercise may also help to reduce the symptoms of hormonal fluctuations.
- Compression Garments
- Weight Management – This is important in slowing the disease progression. Unfortunately, lipedema fat can not be cured by diet alone. Liposuction surgery has been shown to be the only effective treatment of the disease.
Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction (WAL)
The only treatment that appears to be effective in reducing the build-up of fatty tissue associated with lipedema is a procedure called Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction (WAL). Water jet is a more gentle type of liposuction that has a reputation for not damaging lymphatics as much as traditional liposuction, and we use it for specific areas. It causes minimal skin tightening, and is quite time consuming, but for the correct application, it works well.
Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
PAL is performed using a special cannula which uses tiny, rapid vibrations to break up fat cells so that they can be suctioned out of the body. Dr. Byrd can remove more fat in a shorter period of time, which leads to enhanced results, a safer procedure, and faster recovery. PAL is performed using the tumescent liposuction technique, in which an anesthetic liquid is injected into the treatment area for smooth fat transfer through the cannula and out of the body.
This procedure can be an effective treatment with good results, but several separate operations may be necessary to remove the fat from the different parts of your body. WAL is often combined with Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL).
Dr. Marcia Byrd considers each patient’s treatment process and determines the best surgical treatment for that patient according to their condition at the time of surgery. Learn more+
There are some additional treatments that can sometimes be helpful in improving pain and tenderness, preventing or reducing lipedema and improving the shape of affected limbs – although they often have little effect on the fatty tissue.
Several different treatments are designed to improve the flow and drainage of fluid in your tissues, such as:
- Compression therapy: Compression garments and wraps to increase pressure in the swollen legs and reduce fluid buildup.
- Exercise: Usually low-impact exercises, such as swimming to reduce fluid buildup and boost mobility.
- Massage: MLD or Manual lymphatic drainage to stimulate the flow of lymph fluid around blocked areas to healthy vessels, where it can drain into the venous system.
Varicose vein disease is often present in conjunction with lipedema. Varicose veins are characterized as an abnormal vein located in the lower legs that are unable to effectively transport venous blood. As a result, blood begins to pool within varicose veins and begin to put unreasonable pressure on the lymphatic system which operates to drain fluid.
Vascular surgeons, particularly in a vein clinic, see patients with a variety of leg complaints including pain, swelling and lymphedema. Patients with undiagnosed lipedema may get referred for such complaints so it the falls to the vascular surgeon to make the correct diagnosis.
Ineffective Lipedema Treatment:
Lipedema is often misdiagnosed as standard obesity, leaving patients to deal with an endless cycle of disappointment and ongoing pain as symptoms continue and fat refuse to fall off. Unfortunately, Lipedema does not respond to an altered diet or increased exercise and ultimately requires cosmetic intervention in order to alleviate the appearance and pain of symptoms. Patients often report that the road to their initial diagnosis is an uphill battle. Women with Lipedema are typically diagnosed by their primary care provider with traditional obesity, and all treatment methods follow this diagnosis.
Dr. Marcia Byrd and her team of experts care for patients throughout the United States and Canada. Locally, Dr. Byrd services the North Atlanta, GA area including Roswell GA, Alpharetta GA, Milton GA, Woodstock GA, Canton GA, Dunwoody GA, Sandy Springs, GA and more. If you suspect that you suffer from Lipedema, call (770) 587-1711 and schedule a consultation. Be the best you can be and live a full life – there is no reason to wait!