Jodhpurs and pillar legs

Lipoedema – torture for all those affected

Lipoedema is a scourge that actually only affects women. My patients tell of lifelong martyrdom. In a society in which only slim people are ideal, patients suffering from lipoedema are particularly affected. Even friends and family often do not understand this disease. The well-intentioned tips on the subject of exercise and nutrition are not very helpful and ensure that the self-confidence of those affected is on the ground.

What is lipedema and how does it develop?

Lipoedema, also known as saddlebags syndrome, is medically a pathological fat deposit disorder or a fat distribution disorder. The thighs, hips and upper arms are usually affected. In contrast to normal fat deposits, lipoedema is painful and severely restricts everyday life.

The cause of lipoedema has not yet been clearly clarified. Since the symptoms usually appear during puberty or pregnancy, scientists assume that a hormonal imbalance is responsible for the development of lipoedema.

Is every lipedema the same?

Lipoedema is divided into 5 stages:

  • Type 1: fatty tissue in the buttocks and hips - the saddlebags
  • Type 2: Additional fatty tissue in the knee area
  • Type 3: Adipose tissue spreads to the ankles – pillar legs.
  • Type 4: Adipose tissue spreads into arms.
  • Type 5: Adipose tissue also dissipates in hands and feet.

Do I have lipedema or overweight?

Lipoedema usually begins in the legs. If edema only develops in the legs, but the trunk appears to be of normal weight, then the diagnosis could be lipedema. In addition, the fluid deposits are sensitive to pressure, which is not the case for simple fatty tissue. So do the print and look test.

Lipoedema in Berlin – Which treatments are possible?

As already mentioned, lipoedema is often confused with diet-related obesity. But lipedema is a disease and not a lack of discipline in front of the fridge. Lipoedema cannot be treated with intensive sport either – the freedom of movement of our patients is often restricted to such an extent that sporting activities are no longer possible. If lipoedema develops, the symptoms can be treated by wearing compression underwear and corsetry. Regular lymphatic drainage can at least provide relief from lipoedema. If the symptoms increase, only lipoedema liposuction can help (Liposuction).

How does liposuction work at the lipoedema specialist?

For lipoedema treatment, we use modern water jet or vibration-assisted liposuction. These methods are particularly gentle on the tissue and ensure that only the excess fatty tissue is removed. You can find detailed information on my website under the menu item Liposuction.

What should be considered after the treatment?

As with all liposuction, compression underwear and a bodice must be worn for a period of approx. 6 weeks after the treatment. Physical exertion and sports are taboo for 3 months. Take a break and treat yourself to rest and relaxation.

Lipoedema costs: does health insurance pay for this?

Treatment costs can vary greatly. Patients with a diagnosis of lipedema require extensive treatment, usually requiring several interventions. Unfortunately, lipoedema treatment is only part of the catalog of services provided by statutory health insurance companies from stage 3 onwards. This means that lipoedema treatment is only accepted if there is a clear imbalance in the proportions of the upper and lower body. The upper body looks of normal weight, but the lower body is extremely voluminous. These patients have usually been treated conservatively for a long time and the lipedema diagnosis is unequivocal. For this reason, I do not offer an initial diagnosis of lipedema. Nevertheless, most of my patients with an undetermined diagnosis of lipedema would still like to be treated - such lipedema treatment is only possible as a self-payer or private patient.

The current political discussion about lipoedema treatment

At the beginning of January 2019, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) spoke in a highly acclaimed Interview with the FAZ stated that the health insurance companies should cover the (very high) costs for usually several rounds of liposuction if a lipoedema diagnosis has been made. That would be an enormous relief for the many affected in every respect. However, it is still completely unclear whether this will actually happen. In addition to political headwinds, the current situation is that it is not the Federal Ministry of Health, but a joint committee made up of doctors, hospitals and statutory health insurance companies that makes the decision as to which treatments are generally to be reimbursed by the health insurance companies.

last updated on 08.07.2023