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.
Liposuction is a surgical procedure for removing fat. In patients with lipoedema, liposuction can remove these fatty deposits permanently. If liposuction is performed then you will see an immediate reduction in the size of the limb. However some patients have a combination of lipoedema and lymphoedema and it is essential that they continue to wear compression garments, as the limb will swell again if the compression is not maintained. For patients who do not have lymphoedema, compression garments will not be required in the long term and the fat will be permanently removed. The input of a lymphoedema nurse is essential to the process.