Updated information relating to the recent NICE guidelines can be found here.

Lipoedema or Lipedema is a genuine medical condition that is often confused with lymphoedema. The individual with this condition may appear to be simply obese and/or to have extremely swollen legs and swollen abdomen. The condition is an uneven distribution of fat cells in the sub-cutaneous regions generally in the legs or abdomen. One major frustration of people with lipoedema is that they are accused of being simply “fat,” which is absolutely not the case; it is a relatively common disease with extremely common misconceptions.

Perhaps one of the most critical complications is the acquisition of secondary lymphoedema. The increased weight can crush the lymphatics causing blockages and hindrances to lymphatic flow.

Many lipoedema patients also experience a tremendous amount of pain due to the condition and the affects on the body’s systems.

Liposuction is a very successful technique which can permanently remove the excess fat cells and improve any associated lymphoedema.

What is liposuction in relation to lipoedema?

Lipoedema is a fat tissue disorder. It is a genuine medical condition characterised by an accumulation of painful fat below the waist, resulting in hips, buttocks and legs that are out of proportion with the upper body. It can also affect the arms, resulting in laxity of skin with abnormal fat pads at the elbow and wrist. It typically affects women and often develops during puberty.

Over time, expanding fat cells can block the vessels of the lymphatic system, which normally helps return fluid to the blood stream. This blockage prevents the proper drainage of lymph fluid. Lipoedema is estimated to occur in 11% of the adult female population, meaning that millions of women worldwide are affected. A large number of health care professionals remain unaware of the condition and patients are simply dismissed as being overweight.

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