Can Liposuction Improve My Lower Leg Lipedema?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have Lipedema and have had some surgeries with a lipedema doctor and they were very conservative. My biggest concern are the knees and the tops of my thighs, my public area and inter thighs. I have calf concerns but that can be later on down the road. 

A: Thank you for sending your pictures. The critical question becomes in the face of lipedema what happens with liposuction? Will it be effective or overwhelmed by chronic swelling? Will it aggravate the existing lipedema or make it worse? The prior lipedema surgeries may have been ‘conservative’ but may have been done for a good reason…to avoid aggravating the lipedema.

Forgetting the underlying lipedema for a minute, the treatment of your type of lower extremity lipodystrophy requires a very aggressive liposuction approach. With that comes one known and and one unknown risk. The known risk is that the cellulite appearance on the thighs will undoubtable get worse, not better. That is unavoidable. The unknown risk is will it aggravate the lipedema? Just because the conservative treatments did not, that is no guarantee that a more aggressive approach will not.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana