It usually starts with hormonal changes at puberty, childbirth and menopause. It collects around knees, ankles and thighs. And no matter how much you diet or exercise, IT cannot be lost. The “it” is Lipedema — an often misdiagnosed fat disorder that leaves the upper body thin, while depositing lumpy, granular fat in the legs often leaving them shapeless, swollen and painful. The disease, first diagnosed in the 1940’s at the Mayo Clinic, rarely affects men, and is believed to be genetically handed down from the maternal line.
Lipedema Isn’t Common Obesity
Though Lipedema is not rare, over 11 percent of the world’s female populace is affected by it, doctors rarely have knowledge of the disease and therefore it goes improperly diagnosed as garden-variety obesity. Patients misdiagnosed with common obesity are often put on radical diets, diet pills or undergo gastric bypass surgery to no avail ¬— the Lipedema fat doesn’t budge. And often when this happens, it’s the patient that gets the blame. “It’s not your fault. Don’t give up. There is help . . . ” says Dr. Marcia V. Byrd, MD, founder of The Lipedema Surgery Center and one of the few surgeons specialized in treating Lipedema in North America.
Common Symptoms of Lipedema
- Large stove-pipe shaped legs
- Fat cuffs around ankles
- Upper body much smaller that lower body
- Swollen legs that bruise easily
- Legs that are painful to touch
- Lumpy tissue that looks like cellulite
- Excess tissue gathered around knees and on inner thighs
- Fat size doesn’t reduce with diet or exercise
- Changes in skin
How is Lipedema surgically treated?
Performed under local tumescent anesthesia (not general), Lipedemic fat is carefully removed using lymphatic-sparing (WAL) Water-Assisted Liposucution and (PAL) Power- Assisted Liposuction. Dr. Marcia V. Byrd, MD, of The Lipedema Surgery Center, specializes in the latest Lipedema-specific Liposuction techniques developed by Dr. Joseph Stutz of Germany.
What are the benefits of Lipedema surgery?
- Stop Disease Progression – By removing Lipedemic fat, the progression of the disease is halted and guards against the further development of a secondary disease called Lymphedema.
- Reduce Pain – Many patients experience a relief in Lipedema-related pain almost immediately after surgery.
- Increase Mobility – By reducing the size and swelling of lower limbs, patients mobility is improved allowing them to participate in a more active lifestyle.
- Enjoy a More Proportionate Body – Post surgery, the size of the lower body is more aligned with the size of the upper body. Clothes fit better and patient confidence gets a boost!
- To lean more about Lipedema, or to book a consultation with Dr. Marcia V. Byrd, call 770.587.1711.