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Obesity and lipedema

While lipedema closely resembles obesity it is a medical disorder which causes an accumulation of fat primarily in the lower body. This can include ankles, legs, etc. It is estimated that 17 million American women have this disease many of them undiagnosed. (Source:http://www.lipedema-simplified.org/)

Many women suffering from lipedema are labeled obese and are unsuccessful in reducing this type of fat no matter how strenuously they exercise or how much they diet.

The only way to remove this type of fat is through liposuction, although lipedema treatment also involves other therapies. Lipedema fat is different than normal fat.

As the fat accumulates, the fat cells block the normal action of the lymphatic system, causing fluid buildup. The lymphatic system is responsible for several things including removing toxins and waste from the body and distributing infection-fighting white blood cells. Lipedema treatment consists of decongestive therapies designed to restore function to the lymphatic system.

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Treatment options

Lipedema treatment involves a combination of several therapies including:

  • Liposuction
  • Massage
  • Compression
  • Exercise

The most dramatic cosmetic improvement is obtained through liposuction. Dr. Repta is known throughout the Phoenix area as a top liposuction surgeon. As a board certified plastic surgeon, he treats patients with disproportionate fat distribution on a routine basis, including those with lipedema.

These patients require a specific type of liposuction called water assisted liposuction or WAL. This is necessary to prevent damage to the already compromised lymphatic structures. During WAL, fat is detached using a precisely directed stream of water, which is less traumatic to the blood vessels and nerves.

Lipedema treatment using the WAL method of liposuction is focused more on restoring mobility and reducing pain than on the cosmetic improvement that naturally occurs.


Lymphatic drainage massage stimulates the flow of lymph in the areas affected, which allows the excess fluid to naturally drain. This type of massage uses a pumping movement as opposed to a massaging movement. Having normal lymphatic drainage is very important in fighting infections as white blood cells are distributed throughout the body through the lymphatic system.

Compression garments can be worn to restrict the return of excess fluids in the affected areas. These include wraps, panty hose and shorts. Following liposuction surgery, patients are required to wear compression garments to ensure proper adhesion of tissues after the procedure.

Increasing mobility

Exercise is beneficial in treating lipedema as it boosts fitness and mobility and will help with normal fat reduction. While exercise and diet do not directly reduce lipedema, it does assist the body in normal lymphatic function.

Following WAL therapy, mobility is increased, allowing a greater range of exercise, which in turns allows normal fat to be metabolized. Since lipedema is a condition where fat continues to accumulate, combining WAL with exercise produces the best overall improvement in quality of life.

Causes of lipedema

Since the vast majority of lipedema cases are women, it is suspected that female hormone fluctuations cause this condition in some women. Heredity can play a role as it is often the case that other family members have lipedema.

Patients often first notice fat accumulations occurring at puberty which continue to worsen through each pregnancy and then again at the onset of menopause. The cause is unknown but the effect of lipedema can severely compromise quality of life as the lower body increases in size.

If you have been diagnosed with lipedema you are invited to schedule an appointment with Dr. Repta to discuss treatment. His offices are convenient for those living in Scottsdale or Phoenix or the surrounding area. More importantly, Dr. Repta is among the top liposuction surgeons in the area and has performed thousands of procedures safely, with compassion and understanding.

Lipedema treatment can relieve pain, increase mobility and restore self confidence. It can treat cankles, thighs and more. Contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Repta today to find out how he can help you return to enjoying movement again.

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To schedule your private consultation, please call our office today at 855 377 3782 or click either the in-office or virtual consult button below.

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If you’re suffering from lipedema and are interested in learning more about treating it with liposuction, Dr. Repta can help. As a top liposuction surgeon in the Phoenix area, he has extensive experience with treating those with disproportionate fat distribution. The first step is to schedule a consultation. During this comfortable and private meeting, Dr. Repta will examine you and listen as you discuss your concerns, symptoms, and goals. Based on this, he will design a treatment plan just for you. To set up your consultation today, contact us. 

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