If you have recently received a diagnosis and need lipedema treatment, it is important to understand different fat types. Lipedema is a condition characterized by an abnormality in the subcutaneous fatty tissues. Fatty or adipose tissue is the body’s principal structure for calorie and energy storage in the long term.
There are four types of adipose tissue in the body. Lipedema only affects one. This leads to lipedema fat being different from normal fat. Here, we take a look at how these various kinds of fat differ.
Essential Adipose Tissue
Your body’s metabolic function needs to work correctly. Essential adipose tissue is the fat inside the bone marrow and organs. Organs, such as the kidneys and liver, require a certain amount of this fat to function properly.
This is the fat that is in your abdominal cavity. This type of fat is metabolically active and is the most sensitive to changes in calorie balance. This type of fat will easily expand if you consume too many calories. It will also contract when your body has a deficit of calories.
This fat lies between the muscle and the skin. You will find this layer of fat attached to the underside of your skin. It is vital for cushioning the body and retaining heat. It is less sensitive to metabolic changes than your visceral fat.
The fourth and last kind of fat is gynoid fat. Sometimes known as subcutaneous hormone-dependent fat, females accumulate gynoid fat to create their sexual secondary characteristics. This type of fat forms the hips, breasts, and curves of the inner thighs. It begins to form during puberty, influenced by progesterone and estrogen. This gives a female body its feminine shape. This kind of fatty deposit is less metabolically active than either subcutaneous fat or visceral fat. This is the kind of fat that lipedema affects.
Lipedema Sufferers Have A Higher Percentage of Body Fat
Lipedema sufferers have a higher percentage of body fat when compared with obese individuals who have the same BMI. Lipedema sufferers can lose weight and thus decrease the percentage of their body fat. However, they lose a lower percentage of their body fat when compared with obese people who lose weight. This applies even when they have lost the same total amount of weight. Both obese women and lipedema sufferers can lose weight on their legs. But it does not significantly reduce the percentage of lipedema fat in lipedema sufferers’ legs.
Lipedema fat remains largely the same even after weight loss because it is metabolically different. Typically, lipedema affects the legs and arms. Eventually, it may also spread to the remainder of the body. This type of fat is not very responsive to a deficit of calories. Therefore, weight loss has little effect on it. If someone with lipedema loses weight, other parts of her body will slim down. But the area affected by lipedema fat will remain large. The areas unaffected by lipedema will lose subcutaneous and visceral fat. However, the legs and arms will remain stubbornly fat. Even if a lipedema sufferer is underweight, she will still have gynoid fat in lipedema-affected areas.
The Problem of Treating Lipedema
For many years, doctors told most lipedema sufferers that they are simply obese. Doctors told them to go away and eat healthily and work out more. Of course, as you can see, this course of action would never work. They would lose some weight, and some areas of the body would slim down. But the areas most affected by lipedema fat would see little to no improvement. This would cause sufferers a lot of concern and misery. Their self-esteem would suffer, and they would feel disheartened and depressed. Even now, many doctors remain unaware of lipedema as a condition. They still often misdiagnose their patients as being merely obese. This means that many lipedema sufferers go undiagnosed until the condition has significantly progressed. This makes treatment more difficult.
Surgery Is An Essential Treatment
Since dieting and exercise cannot eradicate lipedema fat, surgery is the best course of action. Surgery for lipedema involves liposuction to permanently remove the affected fat cells. When a patient undergoes lipedema liposuction, the surgeon sucks out the stubborn fatty tissue. This helps to restore a more proportionate appearance to the body. Although surgery cannot cure lipedema, it offers a long-term solution. Removing the affected fat improves mobility and reduces pain and suffering in patients. This improves their quality of life and helps them to restore their self-confidence.
To find out more about surgery as a lipedema treatment, contact the Artistic Lipo and Plastic Surgery team today. As experts in the field, we can give you all the information and advice you need.
Dr. Hamwi is an aesthetic plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgical and non-invasive procedures. After completing residencies in both plastic surgery and general surgery as well as a fellowship at Harvard University, Dr. Hamwi then went on to pursue an aesthetic surgery fellowship at one of the country’s most competitive programs in Manhattan, New York. Less than one percent of plastic surgeons have completed such specialized training.