What Is The Difference Between Lipedema And Lymphedema?

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Many people often confuse lymphedema and lipedema. While both cases involve swelling of various body parts, there are differences between the underlying issues. So, how is lipedema distinguished from lymphedema?

Lipedema

Unlike lymphedema, women suffer from lipedema mainly in their legs. One of the most notable differences is that feet are generally not involved in lipedema. Lipedema tissue usually stops at the feet and causes the size of the trunk and the size of the legs to become disproportionate. The feet are usually normal in size when initially affected, but then swelling begins to develop from the level of the ankles. Another distinguishable factor is how in lipedema, excess fat is actually symmetric as there is a symmetrical accumulation of fat in the legs’ subcutaneous tissues. This equal involvement is not present in lymphedema.

Lymphedema

Unlike lipedema, lymphedema is caused by a disorder of the lymphatic system. Characteristics that are only found in lymphedema patients involve swelling of the feet, accumulation of subcutaneous fluid, and primarily pitting edema. Pitting edema is characterized when swollen areas are indented and a pit remains when pressed on. The presence of pitting edema seen in lymphedema is due to congestive heart failure. The presence of ulcers and infections are also a clear difference between lymphedema and lipedema patients. Lymphedema patients also will see a darkening and fibrosis of the skin over time, caused by the excess fluid. This is also not present in lipedema patients.

How to treat lipedema

Lipedema is characteristically noted in women and begins during adolescent years. For lipedema patients, dieting may improve the upper body, although the legs will remain persistently enlarged. VASER liposuction allows a trained surgeon to address this fat accumulation while also avoiding injury to any vessels which is of concern for lipedema patients due to the circumferential nature of the disease. Dr. Mowlavi is an international VASER trainer with many years of experience treating lipedema. Contact us for your complimentary consultation today!

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