Treating Lipedema, A ‘Painful Fat’ Disease, With Liposuction Benefits Women

Table of Contents

by Dr. Ivan Puah

Lipoedema is a chronic condition where there is an excess build-up of fat tissues commonly affecting areas at the lower body such as the buttocks, thighs, lower legs and arms [2].

The affected areas may have the following symptoms:

  • bruising,
  • discomfort, and
  • spider veins beneath the skin.

Lipoedema may sometimes be worsened by fluid retention (lymphoedema). Patients may have increasingly worsened swelling in the legs during the day and improve overnight. Symptoms of Lipoedema can lead to reduced mobility and psychological issues, such as low self-esteem.

The cause of lipoedema is generally unknown. Lipoedema mostly occurs during puberty, pregnancy or after menopause. This suggests there may be hormone influence in the causation of lipoedema. There is also some evidence to suggest that genetic influence may be relevant too.

Lipoedema can affect people who are of healthy weight too, not just people who are obese. Unfortunately, Lipoedema is unlikely to be resolved by weight loss or dieting.

The Only Clinical Treatment that Defeats Lipedema: Liposuction

The only treatment that is clinically effective in reducing the excess fatty tissue associated with lipoedema is liposuction. Lipedema with liposuction could benefit women with ‘painful fat’ disease[1]. Excess fat tissues are removed with liposuction, permanently reshaping the affected areas. According to Anna-Theresa Bauer from Technical University Munich in Germany, and colleagues who conducted an online survey of 209 female patients, the majority of lipedema patients who underwent liposuction reported that liposuction has led to a significant reduction in pain, swelling, tenderness, and easy bruising [1].

Post liposuction compression over several weeks to months is equally important to prevent oedema or fluid retention after that.

Lipoedema is made worse with weight gain or obesity. Hence it is essential to avoid weight gain, or even better, to start losing weight after treatment to prevent recurrence.

VASER Lipo, The Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

In comparison with traditional liposuction, ultrasound-assisted liposuction or VASER Lipo allows doctors to liquefy the unwanted fat cells and hence will enable us to remove the fat tissues more evenly and easily. In addition, it also stimulates better post-treatment tissue tightening. For patients, this means better results, less downtime and improved tissue tightening.

  1. Bauer, A-T. et al. (2019) New Insights on Lipedema: The Enigmatic Disease of the Peripheral Fat. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. doi.org/10.1097/PRS.0000000000006280.
  2. Dadras, M., Mallinger, P. J., Corterier, C. C., Theodosiadi, S., & Ghods, M. (2017). Liposuction in the treatment of lipedema: A longitudinal study. Archives of plastic surgery, 44(4), 324. doi: 10.5999/aps.2017.44.4.324