Lipedema: no cure, but with better treatments

Lipedema is a painful accumulation of pathological fat (lipodystrophy) It usually manifests itself in the lower part of the body (legs and buttocks), although sometimes it also occurs in the arms.

Its most characteristic symptom is a notable and extreme difference in volume between the upper and lower body. This chronic disease, still underdiagnosed and that mainly affects womenis included within the pathologies of adipose tissue and is always related to fat metabolism.

In Spain it is estimated that 15% of cases have a genetic origin (due to family inheritance) because people who suffer from it have a greater number of embryonic fat cells, but it can also have a hormonal origin.

An important question is Do not confuse it with lymphedema Well, although the physical manifestations of both are similar, they are two very different pathologies. Thus, while the first is caused by a problem with adipose tissue, as we said, the second is based on an alteration of the lymphatic system.

In the most severe cases, it presents as edema with pain (and even bruising when palpating the skin) and a great disproportion between the lower area of ​​the body (much thicker and bulkier) and the upper area. The feet are usually not affected. Besides It causes joint problems, difficulty moving quickly, as well as anxiety and depression. and eating disorders.

Strict diets are not usually effective and, on occasions, a stomach reduction has been performed, but, in the opinion of Ana Torres, member of the Spanish Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (Aecep), this is not the ideal solution. «You must have a holistic vision and know that lipedema has various degrees of thickness in the tissue that cover several centimeters in depth, so it is necessary to make an exact diagnosis, perform an ultrasound of the tissue because in addition to the thickness, 30% of cases have venous insufficiency that increases the problem,” explains the doctor.


Therefore, the solution in the most severe cases is surgery with spinal anesthesia (epidural) that causes numbness in the lower part of the body. The Infiltrations are short and the fat is aspirated with the WAL system (Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction). This type of liposuction uses a small cannula introduced through millimeter incisions that, while applying sprayed saline solution to detach the adipocytes, performs a progressive aspiration of these diseased adipose cells under manual control.

One of the main aspects to consider when selecting a specialist to carry out your treatment are studies, experience and constant updating. And thanks to the latest techniques and procedures that can lead to improved care and results for patients interested in cosmetic surgery in our country. We are talking about a very delicate technique that preserves blood vessels, connective tissue and lymphatic vessels.

Another system with the same characteristics that can be used is Microair or PAL system. Both methodologies reduce the time of the intervention and control both the infiltrated fluid and the extracted fat without harming the patient. The areas where lipedema surgery is performed are the knees, subgluteus and trochanters.

«Once the recovery period for the patient has elapsed It is essential to perform decongestive therapies (lymphatic drainage and specific massages), as well as careful nutrition and exercise,” concludes Dr. Isabel Moreno, president of Aecep.

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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