Each year, I see a number of patients with disproportionately enlarged lower extremities. These patients commonly say the tendency to accumulate fat on the legs and hips “runs in the family.” Often, these patients are people who live healthy lifestyles include proper nutrition and regular exercise. These patients likely suffer from a condition called lipedema.
I personally do not consider lipedema to be a disease. One can find several websites that discuss it at length as a variation of normal. As discussed above, lipedema often involves the lower portion of the body such as the outer and inner thighs, knees, and lower areas. Occasionally it can involve the upper extremities. Typically, the trunk is thin and athletic.
My approach to treading lipedema here in Toronto is with liposuction. Typically, a series of 1 to 3 liposuction procedures are required. I say “series” for 2 main reasons. The first one is safety. We can safely remove up to 5 litres of fat in one surgical session. The risk of complications increases beyond this volume.
It is not rare, over time, to remove 5 to 15 litres of fat in a single patient suffering from lipedema over several surgical procedures.
Recover is similar to any large-volume liposuction. I recommend a compression garment for 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. I also recommend taking iron supplements for 3 to 6 weeks before surgery and then 4 weeks after—300 milligrams 3 times daily, if possible. Cost will also vary with the type of procedure required.
There are some recommendations I make to all body contouring patients: maintaining a healthy diet and good exercise protocol are paradigms of positive long-term results.
Dr. Marc DuPéré