Liposuction for Lipedema


Lipedema is a condition of the lower extremities involving fat accumulation distinct from standard lipodystrophy or lymphedema. This condition is most commonly seen in women and is characterized by a column-like leg silhouette, often progressing below the knee. The foot is not typically affected, unlike lymphedema, which can affect the extremities. However, because the two conditions can present in a very similar overall manner although they stem from two very different causes, they are often mistaken for each other.


Lipedema can cause swelling, pain, limit range of motion and even block off the flow of lymphatic fluid through the affected area, causing lymphedema (see below) as a side effect, in addition to other possible causes. Diet and exercise by themselves are generally ineffectual in treating lipedema, but should be maintained as part of a healthy and active lifestyle to prevent recurrences after treatment.

There are a number of ways to treat lipedema, but liposuction using special techniques such as Suction Assisted Protein Lipectomy or ‘SAPL’ and water assisted liposuction generally give better results more quickly in improving the lower extremity shape. This is because liposuction both removes subcutaneous adipose deposits and helps sculpt the area to a smoother and more natural profile.

This procedure is not generally covered by insurance, but Atlantic Coast Aesthetics is experienced in addressing this condition. The procedure involves removing fat using special cannulas and wearing an appropriate garment in the postoperative period. Although liposuction is not a cure for lipedema, it can notably reduce the excess bulk of the affected extremities and improve overall function and comfort.

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