Lipoedema is a bi-lateral and symmetrical  limb swelling mainly affecting the legs and thighs (but sometimes arms too) and is thought to occur as a result of an abnormal accumulation of fat cells in the tissues under the skin.

At present, we do not understand why lipoedema occurs but a family history suggests a genetic basis. It seems to affect females exclusively and it is usually first noticed when there is a hormonal change in the body. Lipoedema is a condition that is often inaccurately or even misdiagnosed by the medical profession and it is often mistaken for other conditions, in particular lymphoedema.

Lipoedema can be treated and reduced with careful massage to the normal nodal groups after the truncal areas have been precleared i.e. the superficial inguinal and axillary nodes, then gentle superficial drainage towards these and compression applied to the legs in the form of bandaging as garments. Although not as easy to treat, considerable reduction, easing of pain and improvement in mobility, can be of huge physical and psychological benefit to the patient.

Diet regimes and liposuction could have a temporary effect but long term results are not clinically proven.

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Next: Arteriovenous Malformations



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