Lipedema
symmetrical proliferation of adipose tissue on the legs

Lipedema – painful for those concerned

Lipedema is a scourge that affects only women. My patients report of a life-long martyrdom. In a society where only lean people are considered ideal, patients suffering from lipedema are particularly affected. Even friends and family often do not show an understanding for this disease. Well-intentioned tips on sports and nutrition are not very helpful and ensure that the self-confidence of those affected is crushed.

What is lipedema and how does it develop?

From a medical point of view lipedema is seen as a pathological fat deposition disorder or as a fat distribution disorder. As a rule, thighs, hips and upper arms are affected. Unlike normal fat deposits, lipoedema is painful and severely limits everyday life.

The cause of lipoedema is still not clear. Since the symptoms usually occur during puberty or pregnancy, science assumes that a hormone disorder is responsible for the development of lipedema.

Is every lipedema the same?

Lipedema is divided into 5 stages:

  • Type 1: fatty tissue in the buttocks and hips
  • Type 2: additional fatty tissue in the area of ​​the knees
  • Type 3: fatty tissue spreads to the ankles – columnar legs.
  • Type 4: fatty tissue spreads to the arms.
  • Type 5: fatty tissue additionally renders hands and feet.

Do I have lipedema or obesity?

Lipedema usually starts in the legs. If edema develop only in the legs, but the rest of the body looks normal, the diagnosis could be lipedema. In addition, the fluid retention is pressure sensitive, simple fatty tissue is not. Do the pressure test and look at your proportions.

Lipedema in Berlin – Which treatments are possible?

As already mentioned, lipedema is often confused with obesity. But lipedema is a disease and not a lack of discipline in front of the fridge. Lipedema cannot be treated by intensive exercise – often the freedom of movement of our patients is so severely limited that sport activities are no longer possible. When lipedema develops, wearing compression garments and bodice lingerie can treat the symptoms. Regular lymphatic drainage can at least provide relief for lipedema. If the symptoms increase, only liposuction will help.

How does the lipedema specialist carry out liposuction?

In a lipedema treatment, we use modern water jet or vibration-assisted liposuction. These methods are particularly gentle on the tissue and it is ensured that only the excess fatty tissue is removed. Detailed information can be found on my page under the menu item Liposuction.

What should be considered after the treatment?

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

Lipedema: Does health insurance cover the costs?

The cost of a treatment can vary greatly. Patients with a diagnosis of lipedema need extensive treatment, usually several procedures are necessary. In our experience, health insurance companies only accept lipedema treatment if there is a clear disproportion between the upper and the lower body. That is, the upper body looks normal weight, the lower body is strikingly more voluminous. These patients usually have been treated conservatively for a long time and the lipedema diagnosis is beyond doubt. For this reason, I do not offer any lipedema diagnosis. If a treatment is to be taken over by your health insurance company, please bring a referral from the lymphologist and the confirmation that your health insurance company will cover the costs to the consultation. Nevertheless, most of my patients with an indefinite diagnosis of lipedema still want to be treated – in which case the treatment needs to be payed for by the patient.

The current political discussion about lipedema treatment

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) stated in a much noted interview with the German newspaper F.A.Z. that the health insurance companies ought to cover the (very high) costs of liposuction in cases with a definite diagnosis. That would be an enormous relief in every respect for the many concerned. Whether it will actually happen, however, is still completely unclear. In addition to political headwinds, in the current situation it is not the Federal Ministry of Health, but a joint committee of doctors, hospitals and public health funds that decides which treatments are generally to be reimbursed by the health insurance companies.