What is lipoedema?
Lipoedema refers to a subcutaneous accumulation of fatty tissue on the legs and, in some cases, on the arms. Often mistaken for normal excess weight, lipoedema only forms in some parts of the body while the other parts remain a normal weight. In the initial stages, there are no physical symptoms, but pressure pain, swelling and bruising can occur at a later time. Increased strain on the lymph vessels can also result in the formation of lymphoedema.
This abnormal distribution of fat is classified as a disease and affects almost exclusively women.
What causes lipoedema?
The exact causes are not yet known, however it is suspected that the phenomenon is hereditary, as an increased occurrence could be determined in immediate family.
Changes in hormones are also associated with lipoedema, as it usually occurs during puberty or pregnancy.
What are the treatments for lipoedema?
Most conservative treatment methods of lipoedema do not help to cure the disease. Exercise and a healthy diet do not reduce the diseased fatty tissue.
Often, treatments are used to provide temporary relief of the symptoms, for example complex decongestive therapy (CDT) by means of lymph drainage or the use of compression stockings. Both methods are used to drain fluid stored in the fatty tissue.
The only option currently available to permanently reduce lipoedema is surgical liposuction.
What effect does tumescent liposuction have?
Tumescent liposuction has been a common form of liposuction since the end of the 80s. Before the procedure, a mixture of saline solution, local anaesthetic, bicarbonate and dilute adrenalin is injected into the affected tissue. The tumescent solution causes the fatty tissue to bloat, which makes it easier to release it from the surrounding tissue. The risk of bleeding during surgery is also minimised. In the past, damage to the nerves and connective tissue frequently occurred without the fat being softened. Thanks to tumescent liposuction, the risk of these kinds of side effects is very low.
After around 60-90 minutes, the liposuction procedure can begin.
Who is suitable for liposuction?
Liposuction can be performed on all patients who are of age and do not suffer from heart and circulatory problems or skin inflammation. Patients who suffer from other serious illnesses may also not be able to undergo the procedure. Examples include delayed coagulation or wound healing disorders. During a consultation, we will clarify whether liposuction is an option for you.
How is liposuction performed?
the Hautmedizin Bad Soden offers one of the most gentle methods of liposuction – power-assisted tumescent liposuction. During the procedure, the fat cells are removed using 4mm cannulas that are subjected to slight vibrations after administering the tumescence solution. This allows the fat to be removed even more gently without damaging nerves, lymph and blood vessels. Depending on the size of the area to be treated, several small incisions are made in the skin in order to reach the fatty tissue with the cannula.
In many cases, a part of the injected tumescent solution remains in the tissue. This residue is drained off through the small wounds during the first few hours after surgery.
The pressure sensitivity caused by lipoedema improves after just a few days.
Can lipoedema return after liposuction?
Liposuction achieves long-term results, which means that a removed fatty cell cannot reform. However, the fatty tissue affected by lipoedema cannot be entirely removed in most cases. The remaining diseased cells can therefore spread again over time. As a result, a second treatment after approx. 8-12 years is rarely required.
How high are the risks for complications?
Complications with liposuction can never be fully excluded. However, the procedure of power-assisted tumescent liposuction that we use in our clinic is an extremely gentle technology that reduces the risks to a minimum.
Find out more information about lipoedema and treatment during a personal consultation.