What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a condition that primarily affects women causing an enlargement of fat cells in the legs and arms and occasionally in the buttocks and abdomen. Despite being recognized for over 70 years, lipedema is still often confused with obesity. If left untreated, patients can suffer from a variety of health related issues that not only affect mobility but vital bodily functions as well. Terms such as “cankles” for ankles, and “stove pipes” for legs describe the appearance of Lipedema. Early treatment is critical in preventing increasing fat accumulations from being deposited with each passing year. Treatment in later stages is aimed at treating the swelling associated with this condition, decreasing pain and discomfort in the legs and preserving tissue health.
Marcia V. Byrd, M.D. is the Medical Director of The Lipedema Surgery Center. The surgical aspect of treatment is lymph-sparing liposuction which utilizes specialized equipment and techniques. Dr. Byrd finds that the treatment of lipedema Is a natural extension of her many years of experience with various types of liposuction. It must be emphasized that lymph-sparing liposuction for the treatment of Lipedema is a medically necessary procedure and not cosmetic. For more information about The Lipedema Surgery Center click here.
What Causes Lipedema?
Doctors don’t yet know the exact cause of this fat disorder, but there is a hereditary component. Typically the women in a family may tend to carry their weight in their hips and thighs. Any major hormonal shift throughout different life stages can trigger or increase the effect of lipedema. Some examples of this would be puberty, which is a very common trigger and usually the first one. Another would be pregnancy, then menopause. All of these cause a change in hormonal balance, which is related to the onset of lipedema. It seems to occur in relation to estrogen levels, so this is why it affects women more than it does men.
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, peri-menopause)
- Extreme stress
- Disproportionate body
- Expanded fat cells
- Blockage of of lymph fluid
- Painful fat
- Easy bruising
- No weight change with diet or exercise
- Cuff of fat at ankle and/or wrist
Stages and Types of Lipedema
In order to treat each patient’s unique physical condition, medical experts developed a system that categorizes the amount and location of fatty tissue. This system is a combination of staging and type identification to effectively treat lipedema. Learn more+
- Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction (WAL) and Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) Learn more+
- Exercise to reduce fluid buildup and boost mobility.
- Stretch compression bandages to increase pressure in the swollen legs and reduce fluid buildup.
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) to stimulate the flow of lymph fluid around blocked areas to healthy vessels, where it can drain into the venous system.
Dr. Marcia Byrd and her team of experts care for lipedema patients throughout the United States and Canada. 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!