Lipedema is a poorly understood condition that causes uneven and abnormal fatty deposit buildups, usually in the thighs and hips. This fatty tissue can bruise easily and can be painful to the touch. Usually, it only affects women. It also runs in families, with many women suffering alongside their mothers and grandmothers. Usually, lipedema begins during puberty, and there isn’t a cure. So, what causes lipedema, and how can you treat it?
Lipedema – What Is It?
Many women who suffer from lipedema often believe they’re simply fat. The condition causes fat deposits to accumulate in the lower half of their bodies. This usually affects the knees, thighs, buttocks, and hips. Sometimes, the arms are also affected, but the feet and hands remain unaffected. Usually, lipedema affects both sides of the body equally. The affected area looks disproportionate when compared with the upper body.
It’s believed lipedema affects up to one out of every nine women. Yet, it often goes undiagnosed, so it’s unknown just how common it is. Doctors are still poorly trained in spotting and diagnosing lipedema. Often, they confuse it with obesity or lymphedema.
What Causes Lipedema?
Unfortunately, the precise causes of lipedema remain unknown at present. Since it can often run in families, a genetic link is likely. Researchers who have studied patterns of lipedema in families believe it may be a dominant gene. However, they have found no gene fault that increases the risk of developing the condition. Lipedema usually begins during pregnancy, menopause or puberty. This suggests that hormones also have a role to play.
Living with Lipedema
Lipedema makes life hard. The condition’s physical effects cause problems with walking and standing. There may also be other medical implications, such as joint pain and varicose veins. Lipedema affects self-esteem and confidence as well. This also affects personal relationships. As many women go undiagnosed until the disease has reached a later stage, this only exacerbates the problem.
How Is Lipedema Treated?
Although the cause of lipedema is unknown, there are treatments available. Conservative treatments are usually the first port of call. However, these focus on the symptoms rather than the cause. Patients can have a massage to drain the lymph fluid, as well as compression bandages or garments to reduce swelling. These measures can help to relieve some of the pain and swelling associated with this condition. However, they aren’t a permanent answer to the problem.
The only real solution to lipedema is to have liposuction on the affected areas. It helps with the symptoms, reduces bruising and pain, and improves mobility. While it doesn’t cure lipedema, its benefits are usually long-lasting.
Here at Artistic Lipo and Plastic Surgery, we’re experts in treating lipedema with liposuction. Dr. Su is highly experienced at carrying out liposuction on the lower body. He can produce a complete result and remove the maximum amount of fat cells. This means patients can enjoy excellent outcomes. They will have less pain, and their lower bodies will also be slimmer and less heavy. This improves mobility and boosts self-confidence. As a result, sufferers can enjoy a better quality of life.
We may not understand what causes lipedema, but we can help sufferers to look and feel better in the long term.
Dr. Thomas Su, is the owner and cosmetic surgeon of Artistic Lipo. He has led our full-time clinic specializing in awake-only liposuction since 2007. Dr. Su began his medical career in internal medicine, practicing that until 2005, when he began to provide a full spectrum of non-invasive cosmetic procedures.