Q: Dr. Eppley, I heard about you when I was researching Knee Lifts. After reading more about you ,watching your YouTube and reading your Bio as well as looking at your website I think you are indeed incredibly and uniquely qualified. Unfortunately I saw nothing on your website about my problem so I will ask you directly.

I believe I have stage 1 Lipedema,. After a few years of research I believe its Lipedema, based on my symptoms, age onset and process of elimination. The only treatment for Lipedema is liposuction from what I have read and spoken to surgeons about. I am planning to get my calves and ankles treated by liposuction but the surgeon I’ve spoken to doesn’t want to touch my awful, fat, disfigured knees as he says “knees are tricky”. He also isn’t too keen on my thighs as most of the disproportionate fat is right above my knees, which he says will make my knees much worse than they already are. I am not overweight, I am healthy, athletic and in shape. I would like to know what you know about Lipedema,and what your thoughts are about this type of surgery.

Thank you for taking your time to read this and reply.

A: As you know there are differences between lipedema and lymphedema by which you have come to the conclusion that you have the latter. Some improvements in true lipedema can be obtained by liposuction as you have stated.  When it comes to using liposuction for its treatment I would be more concerned about prolonged edema from the calfs and ankles but not the knees. There is nothing ‘tricky’ about the knees and there is not any anatomic feature that makes them different for liposuction surgery. What the skin will do when the fat is reduced can not be precisely predicted anywhere on the lower extremities but most likely it is not going to shrink in a perfectly smooth manner. That would be an expected tradeoff for the size reduction.

Those are the general comments I can make without having any specific visual knowledge of your lower extremity problem.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana