Early stage lipedema can be tricky to diagnose. It often looks like you just have thicker legs. Lipedema is a chronic disorder that can be if left untreated or ignored can be mistaken for common obesity. it can lead to pain and even immobility in the legs and arms. Learn the symptoms, how to identify it, and how to treat it.
There are four progressive stages of lipedema. The most common symptom of Stage I lipedema is having disproportionately large, column-like, but symmetrical legs that are tender and bruise easily. It’s difficult to differentiate between this and normal weight gain. But if the fat spontaneously hurts, hurts with pressure, and does not pit when you press into it, then you are showing lipedema symptoms.
Stage II has the same symptoms as early stage lipedema, but you may now be forming fist-sized lumps of cellulite. You may also easily feel fatty nodes, and your skin may have become uneven, textured, and/or discolored.
By Stage III, your legs are no longer symmetrical and feature large lumps of fat. Your skin has become thick and hardened with discoloration, and lymphedema has also developed.
Stage IV is the most destructive phase of the disorder, and by now you may be suffering from the development of lipolymphedema. This is a condition in which both lipedema and lymphedema have taken over. Large overhangs of tissue have appeared on the extremities (arms & legs) and extreme discomfort has set in.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE IT
Ultimately to get treatment, you need to have lipedema diagnosed by an expert. But if you’re looking for answers and want to go into your doctor’s appointment armed with knowledge, use this 4-step self-diagnosis:
- Find out if you have a family history of lipedema.
- Feel the fat in your legs and in other parts of your body, looking for textural differences and discomfort.
- Write down your symptoms, and note if they’ve changed over time.
- Compare your symptoms and timeline to the lipedema symptoms above.
None of this overrides a doctor’s opinion. But if you go through it and everything matches up, it’s worth searching for a lipedema expert to talk to.
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HOW TO TREAT IT
There’s only one real treatment for lipedema, and that’s a lipedema with lymph sparing liposuction procedure. It’s a rare, complex procedure that preserves the lymphatics, veins, arteries, and nerves, and it has to be performed by a skilled specialist like Dr. Salameh. Qualified lipedema specialists can be exceptionally rare and difficult to locate, which is why Dr. Salameh is thrilled to offer it to prospective patients from around the world.
While liposuction is the only cure for this disease, you can manage some lipedema symptoms with lymphatic drainage massage and compression stockings.
If you think you have lipedema, schedule a consultation with Dr. Salameh today. Together, you will discuss your diagnosis, and the best course of treatment for your specific case so you feel comfortable and confident about tackling the condition.
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Salameh Plastic Surgery Center is a plastic surgery center dedicated to effective, natural-looking results for every patient. As a double-board certified plastic surgeon and graduate of both Vanderbilt & Yale, Dr. Bernard Salameh combines both a passion for his field with innovative techniques to benefit his patients. With an integrative approach to every procedure, our plastic surgeons use modern plastic surgery best practices and years of experience to create customized treatment plans made to reach each patient’s goals while giving the most natural, anatomically proportional outcomes.
Dr. Salim (Sam) Saba is double-board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Saba trained at the top-rated plastic surgery programs at The University of California San Diego and The University of Texas Southwestern. He has previously honed his skills at several major hospitals in New York City, and he put his skills to charitable use working with a non-profit during his five-year tenure at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Saba’s approach to plastic surgery is deeply patient-centered; his philosophy can best be expressed by the statement he’s most known for: “I will regard and treat you in the operating room and thereafter, as I treat my family and closest friends.”