There is no cure for lipoedema as we do not fully understand the cause. Our aim is to help patients manage the condition and their wellbeing holistically - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Importantly, we need to optimise the patient with lipoedema and then prevent progression. It is also important to understand that obesity is separate from lipoedema and one may have both lipoedema and obesity.
At the OptiVein Centre, we manage lipoedema in a stepwise fashion. Although dietary management is part of the treatment, this is often a frustrating suggestion for lipoedema patients to hear. We thus do not prescribe a certain diet but assess nutritional status and advise on The OptiVein Way which is advice on general health benefits. Again, although exercise is encouraged we do not advocate rigid exercise regimes but rather Movement Enhancement and improving lymph flow.
Lymph drainage and compression stockings may help with leg symptoms. These often need to be custom made after individual measurements. There are other techniques to improve symptoms and enhance lymph drainage, that can be taught by our certified Lymphoedema Therapist, Sr Emily Abendanon. We run a Support Group for patients with lipoedema. This is run by a qualified psychologist every second week. We encourage all patients to join as one learns what may improve symptoms and outcomes and offers support in dealing with this difficult diagnosis. If one is going to have liposuction then the support group must be attended.
As lipoedema cannot currently be reversed, the surgical option is liposuction to remove the abnormal adipose tissue. Long term outcomes of this are not known and it is important that a patient is well prepared to ensure optimal outcomes and reduce the chances of re-accumulation. Patients are thus encouraged to join the Support Group and to be at an optimal weight before undergoing liposuction.
Liposuction may also need to be done in stages. Dr Redman spent time in the Lymph-Opt Clinic with Dr Franz-Josef Schingale in Germany, a clinic dedicated to lymphoedema and lipoedema management, and where conditions are managed both holistically and surgically. Should a patient want to undergo this treatment, we arrange a consultation with our plastic surgeon, Dr Gareth Tjasink. It should be noted that this treatment may need to be staged.