It was in 2000 when a friend told me about a completely unknown disease. Affetced women suffered from thick legs and sports and diets showed no effect at all. Even doctors did not understand or accept their suffering. Shame, self-reproach and frustration were huge – a severe suffering! At this point, I did not even suspect that women of my own family were affected. As an experienced surgeon, in th years to follow I developed a completey new and long-lasting surgery method: the lipedema surgery. To stop the lipedema, to be free from pain, to not ever again have to wear compression garments and to give back feminity; these are my goals today. And it is out of these goals that my vocation arose: To make way by freedom from pain, a reconstructed body figure and a stronger self-esteem – for a new life!
The lipedema takes a life-long, chronical turn and is often heridated to daughters. Its causes are still unknown, but all in all at the momemt it is presumed that its hormone-driven and that the female hormone estrogen is responsible for an accumulation and enlargement of fat cells. Typically, the lipedema manifests itself at the start of puberty (85% of the cases), during pregnancy or during menopause. The massive increase of fat cells results in a lack of oxygen in the tissue, causing the death of parts of the fat cells. This again sets in motion a chronic inflammatory process, which leads to tissue damage and pain.
It leads to an increased permeability of the vascular walls, allowing lymphs to escape into the tissue which cannot be transported anymore by the intact lymphatic system. It results in the typical feeling of pressure and tension. The higher fragility of the blood vessels is responsible for the tendency for hematomas.
In 97% of the cases the legs are affected, in 31% of the cases also the arms show the typical symptoms. In our experience, we assume that the arms, even in a state where they do not show any symptoms, do at least inherit the predisposition to develop a state which will require a surgical treatment in the course of the disease. The manifestation on the arms is often lesser or manifests itself in a later stage.
Most patients who fell ill during puberty do suffer greatly psychologically from the physical effects of lipedema. Furthermore, the lipedema does not respond or only scarcely to attempts to lose weight via sports and diets. This circumstance augments the frustration of affected women even more.
The LipoClinic Dr. Heck is specialized in the treatment of the lipedema. We know the long ordeal of suffering only too well, a way which is often formed by ignorance and incomprehension of this disease. With our experience which we have gained over the years we would like to help you to risk the step into your “new life”.
The skin is even, subcutaneous fat tissue is thick, the fat structure slightly nodular, even Stage 1 can be painful.
The skin is uneven with dents, bumps and a nodular fat structure.
The tissue is rougher and harder, formation of great skin pockets.
The first measure in treating lipedema is the so-called complete decongestive therapy, the treatment via flat-knit compression garments and manual lymphatic drainage. Nevertheless, this form of therapy alone to treat lipedema has now lost its right of treatment. Still, it remains – together with the normalisation of the body weight via sports and conscious nutrition – an essential cofactor for the surgical treatment via liposuction.
Flat-knit garments and manual lymphatic drainage aim at reducing the fluid retentions but are not capable of reducing the pathological accumulated fatty tissue.
The only long-term and treatment guiding treatment is the surgery via high-volume liposuction. After first tries at the end of the 90’s, it has now become a daily-routine surgical intervention. With a consequent and competent execution, excellent results with only few complications are obtainable without exception.
The LipoClinic Dr. Heck performs more than 1,000 surgeries per year and certainly is one of the world’s leading addresses in lipedema surgery.
As a rule, Tumescent Local Anaesthesia in form of the TLA-method or the Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction technique (WAL) are put into practice. In comparison of both techniques in our clinic and after years of operating with the TLA-technique, in 2012 the Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction technique established itself. The technique has been used since 2006. In contrast to TLA, we see its benefits in the patients’ comfort and safety.
Using a water-jet, fat cells are detached from the tissue structure and suctioned in the same process. In contrast to TLA, instead of a large-volume of rinsing solution, only a small amount has to be injected so that the extremities stay in their anatomical shape and can be evaluated in an optimal way at all times by the surgeon. This facilitates a precise suction and the new contouring of the extremity. In addition, using WAL, there is no need for a long time for filling or exposure time. After the injection of the tumescence solution, the surgeon can directly start with the liposuction. On the one hand, this reduces the operation time significantly for the patient and on the other hand, drugs of the tumescence solution cannot pass into the circulation in a significant amount. The risk for drug-initiated side effects on the cardiovascular system is being reduced significantly. The technique is not harmful to the tissue, the risk of hurting vessels and nerves is very low and as it has been proven, non-existent for damage of the lymphatic channels.
The risk for drug-initiated side effects on the cardiovascular system is being reduced significantly. The technique is not harmful to the tissue, the risk of hurting vessels and nerves is very low and as it has been proven, non-existent for damage of the lymphatic channels.
The surgery stops the lipedema disease, usually you are free from pain within a few days. In many cases, there is no more need for therapy more in the long-term, meaning that many of you will not need the complex decongestive therapy nor manual lymphatic drainage anymore.
And with this, your “new life” begins. Starting with boots and skirts your activity level rises, and so do the self-esteem and also the pleasure of your new body sensation. And this does not only please you, but us as well!
The initial diagnosis is important. Young and in stage 1 with the onset of pain, the fat tissue is not congested yet and the skin is firm.
Via surgery a completely natural form of the legs and arms can be achieved. The lipedema is removed and we speak of healing. The later the lipedema has been diagnosed, the more time the edema has had time to damage the skin. Usually, the calves are still very firm and we can create an anatomically nice figure. Nevertheless, the skin of the upper legs often is a lot looser. This will not change with surgery, however wrinkles rarely occur.
In the “final stage 3” the loose form of the skin does not change. Nevertheless, the volume of the arms and legs can be reduced significantly. Via the surgical decongestion of the legs, the pain can be reduced well or even completely removed. Compression garments help to achieve a nice figure. The dress size is smaller and the lipedema is stopped. Even saggy skin of the arms does tighten surprisingly well after liposuction when wearing compression garments, making a surgical skin tightening unnecessary.
What is gone, is gone! Removed fat tissue does not regenerate.
Dr. med. Falk-Christian Heck
Dorina Olt – Patient