Lipoedema is a chronic condition characterised by a painful and abnormal accumulation of fat cells in the hips, thighs, buttocks, legs and sometimes arms. The legs may become swollen, bruise easily, feel tender and uncomfortable. The diseased fat cannot be reduced by diet or exercise, weight loss surgery or medications. Many women have this disease and grow increasingly frustrated by not understanding why their bodies are changing. They often get a misdiagnosis of obesity. Does this sound familiar? If so, read on!
“There are currently many generations of women that are stuck with diseased fat in their legs,” says Dr Lekich from Lipoedema Surgical Solution. Sufferers of earlystage Lipoedema often have column-shaped legs. As the conditions worsens, the fat continues to build up and the lower half of their body becomes heavier. The lipoedemic fat can also build up in the arms. The fat cannot be exercised or dieted away. Many patients eat well and exercise yet continue to develop fat on their lipoedemic areas.
The condition almost exclusively affects women and it is estimated that 1 in 10 women suffer with Lipoedema. Onset times include puberty or pregnancy, or during menopause.
The condition is poorly understood and often dismissed as obesity. If not diagnosed and managed properly Lipoedema can result in further complications.
Dr Chris Lekich is the medical director of Lipoedema Surgical Solution and Vein Doctors Group, attached to the Miami Private Hospital, a purpose built facility for varicose vein and lipoedema surgeries. It is a medical clinic, not a cosmetic clinic, focused on taking a holistic approach to health for the best possible outcomes. Dr Lekich has spent a considerable amount of time in Germany, training with world-leading experts in Lipoedema. He says, “In Australia, we are 15 years behind Germany with our awareness of Lipoedema.”
Now Dr Lekich is passionate about spreading awareness about the condition. He wants everyone from referring doctors, to the media, to politicians to know about it. If you suspect you have it, then call the number in the contact box. ■
Kerrie believes she may have had Lipoedema, without knowing, as early as thirty years ago. For over twenty years doctors told her to simply ‘lose weight’. Most recently it was even suggested for her to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
A rheumatologist pointed to her thighs and legs and stated that no one, including him, would ever be able to help Kerrie because of her size. Kerrie was becoming reluctant to walk as it was beginning to take up too much energy, and was worried she may even end up in a wheelchair. She was not coping with the torment of people’s comments and stares.
After experiencing years of physical and psychological pain, at Christmas time in 2019 Kerrie made a New Year’s resolution with herself to try and lose weight again. It was January 2020 when someone approached Kerrie in a shopping centre and told her she could have Lipoedema.
Kerrie researched the condition online and knew straight away that she had Lipoedema. She followed Dr Lekich’s advice, including undertaking a ketogenic diet. Kerrie believes it was the right diet for her, as she immediately began to see her weight drop in her abdomen after strictly following the plan. The next step in Kerrie’s treatment was to undergo Lipoextraction surgery with Dr Lekich for the diseased fat that was stuck in her legs.
Dr Lekich initially anticipated that Kerrie would need five surgeries in total, however, the process was completed after just three.
Kerrie had 6.6 Litres of diseased fat removed from her lower legs in her first surgery, that was unable to be exercised or dieted away, in fact, just three days post-surgery, Kerrie walked 1.9km to her next check up.
Kerrie had three surgeries with a total of 17 Litres of diseased fat being removed from her legs over a 4 month period.
“I feel so much better now because I no longer feel I have bricks on the bottom of my legs. My sleep has improved and even the arthritic pain in my knees has decreased since the surgery. I would never have thought my legs would look and feel so good.” ■
For more information on lipoedema surgery and treatment, visit www.lipoedemasurgicalsolution.com.
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Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast