What do you know about lipedema stage 3 and stage 4? If you have lipedema or know someone who does, then you need to understand the disease and how it affects your body. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the different treatment options.
Previously, we discussed the symptoms and treatments for stages 1 and 2 of lipedema. In the later stages, there are still treatment options, but the condition presents itself more aggressively. We’ll discuss the specific details of lipedema stages 3 and 4 so that you’re familiar with the symptoms and possible treatment plans.
How Lipedema Begins
As we’ve discussed before, in stages 1 and 2, lipedema can be subtle. During stage 1, the swelling that typically presents may be mistaken for weight gain or general inflammation, especially since the swelling tends to go down when you’re resting or when your lower body is elevated. Stage 2 can resemble cellulite, making it somewhat difficult to recognize and diagnose. Your skin becomes dimpled, and fatty lipomas may begin to appear on your legs, hips, and buttocks.
The Symptoms of Lipedema Stage 3
In lipedema stage 3, you may begin to experience deepening effects on the body’s connective tissues, which start to harden and become firmer. While the swelling associated with lipedema will ease with elevation during stages 1 and 2, this will likely lose its effectiveness during stage 3. Elevating and resting the affected limb(s) may not be sufficient to make the swelling go down or to diminish the associated pain. You may also notice changes to your knees and thighs. Those areas may experience larger lumps of fat and excess skin.
It’s not uncommon to feel more stress on your joints. That happens because of the fibrotic skin and the creation of new folds caused by fat masses. Your mobility may decrease as a result.
The Symptoms of Lipedema Stage 4
Lipedema stage 4 is often characterized by lipo-lymphedema, in which lymphedema is present as well as lipedema. The large lumps and masses of extra skin and fat not only become more noticeable, but also present themselves more consistently. Your lymphatic vessels may become weaker, and you might notice the leakage of lymphatic fluid from the vessels. Your legs may start to stiffen up, causing movement to become painful, as well. It’s not uncommon to experience fibrosclerosis or even elephantiasis once lipedema reaches its fourth stage.
As the skin continues to harden from the excessive inflammation and swelling, you may experience symptoms that decrease your quality of life. Walking may become more difficult, as well as moving in general. This is partly because, in addition to the fat masses caused by lipedema, the hardening skin adds extra weight to your body, making it more difficult to remain active. Another symptom of stage 4 is the loss of the skin’s elasticity, along with the possibility of painful skin conditions, such as irritation or rashes that can occur within the folds of excess skin.
Treatments for Lipedema Stages 3 and 4
While regular massage and lymphatic drainage massage can provide relief during the early stages of lipedema, these two options don’t tend to help during lipedema stage 3 and stage 4. Once you enter stage 3, the swelling is too consistent, a symptom that continues throughout the fourth stage of the condition.
That doesn’t mean that you’re out of treatment options, however. Liposuction remains a successful option for the later stages of lipedema. Talk to your plastic surgeon about the possibility of using a water-assisted procedure to get rid of the fatty tissue caused by the disease. That can take the strain off your limbs and joints, thereby improving your life and boosting your self-confidence.
Once you move into lipedema stage 4, you may require additional assistance. Because the skin typically loses its elasticity by this time, your skin can remain stretched. To deal with the hanging skin, which won’t snap back, your plastic surgeon may recommend skin removal surgery following the liposuction procedure.
Lipedema stage 3 and stage 4 can be painful and scary, but our plastic surgeons and knowledgeable staff offer a wealth of experience in treating the condition. It helps to stay on top of the condition from the beginning, but whatever stage you are in, you always have options. Browse through our lipedema resources and book a consultation to change your life and improve your health.