If you’ve received a diagnosis of lipedema, you’re probably wondering how to find relief. Although there are conservative treatments, such as massage and compression, these won’t resolve the problem. There is only one true solution to lipedema, and that’s to have lower limb liposuction. This will permanently remove the fat cells and reduce the pain and swelling in the legs. Since fat accumulates as the condition goes through the various lipedema stages, it’s a progressive condition. It will inevitably get worse without treatment. However, because of the problems of getting a diagnosis, many women don’t discover they’re sufferers until it’s too late.
What Are the Stages of Lipedema?
As lipedema develops, it progresses through four stages. These stages describe the tissue structure, as well as the skin texture. Pain, however, isn’t considered when describing each stage. Even in the earliest stages of the condition, the patient can still experience extreme pain. She may also struggle to walk and stand for extended periods, even in stage one.
At stage one, the surface of the skin remains smooth. However, there is thickened fat under the skin, with a fine-knotted structure. When the disease has progressed to the second stage, the skin surface becomes uneven. The structure of the fat also becomes more coarsely knotted. By the time the condition has reached its third stage, large lobes of fat appear. These give the legs a deformed appearance. The tissue also becomes harder and coarser. The final stage is when lipo lymphedema develops.
The Types of Lipedema
Not only are there four lipedema stages, but there are also four lipedema types. In type one, the fat under the skin is visible in the hips and buttocks. In type two, the condition has spread to the knees. This allows fat to form inside the knee. In the third type, the fat extends from the ankle to the hip. In the fourth type, the lipedema begins to affect the arms, although the wrists remain unaffected. If lipedema stays untreated, lipolymphedema can develop and combine the symptoms of lipedema and lymphedema.
When to Have Liposuction
In theory, lipedema is treatable with liposuction at any stage. The timing of the treatment will vary depending on the individual. Initially, lipedema can seem benign. This is because the earliest stage only results in fluffy fat accumulation. Patients at stage one may have only slight evidence of heaviness and swelling. However, when the condition progresses, it can cause major health issues. As the stages progress, the fat starts to harden. This causes more pain and swelling. Eventually, the buildup of fat can block the lymphatic system. This causes lymphedema, which escalates the lipedema symptoms.
Tumescent liposuction is the only treatment that will help to address the cause of lipedema. It can reduce or even reverse the condition’s symptoms. Studies have revealed that lipo improves patients’ symptoms over an extended period.
Liposuction for lipedema removes the fat cells permanently by sucking them out through a cannula. You will observe immediate results. However, it will take some time for you to see the full effect. Since it removes the fat, lipo can improve any mobility problems the patient experiences. It can also reduce the pain experienced with this condition.
Although liposuction works at any of the lipedema stages, the earlier the patient gets treatment, the better the outcome. If you’ve just received a lipedema diagnosis, contact Artistic Lipo and Plastic Surgery today. We can answer your questions and help you relieve your suffering.
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.