5 years after liposuction for lipedema

Oh, you love liposuction for lipedema. The panacea, which is advertised almost morbidly on one side and strains the hope of so many. 

In 2015, after years of desperation, I underwent three liposuctions, in which 12 liters of fat were removed. Both mine attending physician, as well as I are as neutral as possible and approached the topic with cautious optimism and I would not recommend it to you otherwise. It is Russian roulette, like many other surgeries that relieve symptoms but do not cure the cause.

From diagnosis to the operating table

The lipedema community is growing steadily and today you can find more information on all sorts of topics related to lipedema and especially liposuctions. Many open an Instagram account to be followed on the journey from the fresh diagnosis to the surgery appointment and to share their experiences.

But does this mean that knowledge is so much more accessible now than it was at the beginning of social media?

Yes and no, because they Information violence The newly diagnosed seems to run over and instead of making them smarter how to deal with the situation now, they don't see the forest for all the liposuctions.

Every Rölleken is anners

Before and after pictures are almost the order of the day, but what are they really good for? You see legs that are not your own of people who lead a different life than you. They eat differently, weigh more or less, maybe do sports or not, small, large, old, young, shortly after the diagnosis, 40 years after her, ...

Do you notice something? Every experience is different, every pain sensation and, above all, every result. Don't such pictures actually increase the pressure on you to want such a result? And if it doesn't happen now, what then? Is there an unnecessary disappointment spreading or are you strong enough to accept a random outcome?

I'm so cruelly honest on this subject because I have to be. For everyone who doesn't dare to be. Because they exist and they regularly say thank you for being heard in public. It is not at all easy to assert yourself against other people who have been operated on, who sometimes do not want to allow deviating experiences in addition to their own. You yourself are a new person, everything supi-dupi and now someone else is not feeling that way and you want to take away the flawless shine of the operative method? Pooh!

Criticism undesirable

Oh, of course I'm exaggerating it here, but if I hadn't already experienced it and heard from other bloggers, I probably wouldn't have to write this here. It is by far not the majority, but frighteningly many, so that you can clearly feel the icy headwind.

Some people then tell you that you would deprive other affected people of the hope of a better life. Does that mean in translation that negative or mixed experiences are not desired? Especially with popular doctors? That they should be kept silent so that ... what exactly? The height of fall remains so uncomfortably high if everything doesn't go according to plan? We are all adults and should be fully informed about everything when we get involved. Or do you want to buy a house without knowing what's in the basement? Well, that would be exciting, but that's not the point now. Maybe, next time.

Do you know what I notice now? I got bogged down and with this article I haven't got where I actually wanted to go. But probably all of the previous was much more important than what is now.

My experiences and findings five years after liposuction for lipedema

  1. How did you feel about the liposuction?
    In my opinion, these were very tough weeks. I was operated on in quick succession within half a year and I wouldn't do it anymore. It was very exhausting for me and in the recovery room shortly after the operations I had to struggle with my circulation. Everyone seems to be able to cope with this differently.

    Here is the article on my liposuction.
  2. Are you symptom free?
    No. I was pain-free for about three quarters of a year after I was out of the roughest healing phase. After that, very quietly and gradually a twinge came again. Today the pain is more noticeable again, but I haven't reached the state it was in before the operations. That’s something.

    Here you can read an article about this and about my fears in this regard.
  3. Has the lipedema come back?
    I do not think so. By exchanging information with those affected at all stages, it can be concluded that the severity of the pain is not necessarily associated with the severity of the lipedema. This means that a stage 1 can feel just as severe pain and symptoms as stage 3 patients. I cannot find any great lipedema changes in myself and it did not occur more often in other places or was “wandered”. I only had full operations on my legs and arms and not on my back and stomach. If you put on weight, however, it is of course clear that other fat cells will have to absorb the excess energy after the operations and may grow more as a result. However, I did not gain weight uncoordinated. I knew very well where the pounds were coming from and that was my own fault.
  4. Would you have another operation?
    Never say “no”, do you? I think I would have another operation in the worst possible emergency, but as long as I can Nutrition and Sport manage to create a bearable situation, I see no reason to want to go through the whole thing again. Because yes, exercise and nutrition do not help against lipedema fat cells, but they do help against pain. Please free yourself from the thought that you could do nothing with it.

You don't get out of therapy that quickly

I hope this article will help you decide whether liposuction for lipedema is a welcome measure for you or you have not yet exhausted the conservative options. The liposuction leaves a debris field under the skin, do not underestimate it! As long as the lipedema itself cannot be cured, the outcome remains individual and, above all, uncertain for each affected person.

Nevertheless, we can be happy that we have this possibility at all and that the probability of a good result is getting a little better every year. 

What are your experiences or thoughts on the subject? Write them in the comments below this article and help others with your honest impressions.

Thank you!

If you liked the article, Caroline would be very happy if you could buy her a virtual cup of coffee!

lipedema-fashion-outfit-purple caroline sprott

Author: Caroline Sprott

I'm Caroline, born in 1989 and live in Augsburg. Why did I start the lipedema fashion blog? At the beginning of my diagnosis I was completely helpless before an uncertain future. Now, a few years later, through active participation in self-help groups and a lot of research, I have accumulated a wealth of experience that I would like to make available to other affected persons in one place - without the detour via private groups on Facebook. The fashion component is of course due to my hobby. At the time, I promised myself that I would never be restricted by compression stockings. This attitude gives other patients courage and so Michaela advised me to start a blog.

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  • A good contribution! Doctors who operate privately, in particular, promote liposuction and are sometimes very active and promise healing. You're pushing liposuction into a corner with beauty oops. Statements like “you finally feel female again” are also used there. But aren't we feminine and beautiful even before the operation?
    I have an operation, yes! I'm better than before, but lipedema is returning for me too. I'm not out of shape yet and have less pain. But I am not cured!
    I would have the operation again, but I would give myself a lot more time choosing a doctor. I would also have liked a doctor who had not given me such high hopes, who pointed out to me that exercise and nutrition would not be successful and now recommends diet and exercise to me 3 years after the operation.
    Be careful in your choice and never forget: It is an operation and every operation has risks and tears away at energy reserves.

  • I am 67 years old and 5 years ago I had 3 liposuctions in which 0 liters of fat were removed (arms and legs). The skin has of course not formed back, but I'm glad I did that in 15 months. In retrospect, I wonder how I got through it. For half a year my thighs have been pinching again and the skin has become more sensitive. I had Stage III and I'm so glad I did. After the operations, I still wore compression for about 5 year, and I only need knee socks if I can't even put my legs up during the day.

  • Hello, a great article.
    I am currently in OP 3 of 4. The arms are still missing.
    I have an operation at the Hanse Clinic in Lübeck and my doctor has been very honest with me. He said: it will get better - yes, but how can we not say now. The result also depends on what you make of it and how your body reacts to it. Are the lymphatic systems already impaired too much? We don't know now.
    And it's better. Because of the shapelessness I had bad legs. They are gone now, which makes my hip very happy. The back problems are of course also better. But what happened We fought consequences but not the cause. And I'll still have to wear stockings after the operations, that's already clear.
    For me it was worth it so far, even if I'm not as delicate as an elf and light as a feather ..

    LG Franzi

  • Oh thank you dear Caroline for this post. I'm about to OP 2/3 and after my first OP 2.5 years ago I was devastated. The operation didn't go as planned at all, and the result was desperate. Immediately after the operation I felt very bad, the pain was overwhelming for days and the painkillers did not help and it took me twice as long as announced before I could go back to work (4,5 weeks!). The optical result was not a little, but very disappointing (the operation was canceled because my tissue was so hard, my thighs were only half operated on) and then I had much greater complaints with swelling for ages (1,5 years) after the operation and pain than before. And I felt so alone !!! Everyone posts on Instagram how happy they are, how they got rid of the compression and no one seemed to have had less good experiences. Now, 2,5 years later, I think my tissue has healed and I have the feeling it is a little bit better than before the operation, so I'm starting a new attempt. But also because from a visual point of view it burdens me a lot that I have been operated on so “halfway” and that my legs look even more unusual than before the operation. I have a new doctor with whom I feel much better taken care of and hope that the surgical measures we have planned work and that it works better this time. But in any case, thank you again for the article! Now I feel a little less lonely with my experiences

  • Very well written. I have now had 3 operations within 1,5 years. I have been exhausted physically. Drained and tired from all the pain. The last operation was 3 months ago and I am through, just finished. I got a total of 16 liters from my legs. In the autumn it will be my arms' turn and then maybe there will be a "residual operation". I have a painful spot on my back and my calves may have to be touched up. But I don't really want to anymore. All the money and the pain. I definitely have a huge improvement (both pain and optics), but all these before and after photos in the FB groups make me mentally exhausted. I feel like I have to optimize myself further, do more sport and eat less in order to achieve something that my stature would probably never be able to achieve. I have sworn to myself that I will turn my back on the Fb groups as soon as I have finished the operation.

  • Dear Caroline,

    Thank you for your important contribution! Here you have written about your experiences soberly and pointed out the limits of liposuction. Very good!
    I had 4 surgeries within a year. With 21 liters were removed. I am grateful that I managed the liposuction financially, it was all in all a hard and very painful time for my family as well.
    At that time I was still registered in FB groups. In doing so, I noticed how much I was under pressure ... not to be in such a position because of the pain, ... to be on my feet again after a week and to deal with everyday life, ... nutrition, ... sport, ... dress sizes !!! Phew , it put me under a lot of pressure. So then I quit.
    A year after my last operation, I can say that I did it because I can do my sport again and I dare to go outside again. My pain is back though!
    I have also developed a diet based on my blood that is good for me. Yet I still try to accept that I am just who I am.
    And of course the soul component also plays a not insignificant role here! This is just as important to research and to find the core as with the physical one.
    Everyone has to find their way! Completely individual. But the most important thing for me is how am I feeling mentally? I have noticed that there is great potential in “living with the disease” and it is just as important to find out what it might want to tell me and not to “fight” against it!

    All the best.

    • The mental components ... What an exciting approach. From the doctors (who are willing to operate in my experience) you can hear: you can't do anything with diet and exercise. I still don't like to believe that. One hears again and again about the ketogenic diet in connection with lipedema, maybe it also depends on the type and intensity of the sport ... And what is the emotional component? Why does it almost exclusively affect women? How do I feel about my femininity? How do I feel about my body? How firmly do I stand with both feet in life? How can I learn to feel light? To take life easier?
      I wanted a more holistic approach. Perhaps you still have tips on helpful information.
      And I wish all those affected "healing" in the truest sense of the word, be it through integration and acceptance ...

  • Dear Caroline,
    Thank you for your contribution.
    I've also been dealing with the subject of surgery for a long time. I have now ruled out it for myself, I think there is simply not enough long-term experience for me and my "degree of suffering" is not high enough for the OPs.
    But I'm surprised how long you have to look for critical reports on the operation. Lately I keep coming across women who decide to have an operation immediately and don't even want to try conservative treatment in the first place, or who only want to do so for as short a time as possible.
    It often seems as if one has not dealt with the topic in more detail (is also increasingly difficult in the large forest and with the sometimes great OP reports).
    Of course, most of the results are better shortly after the operation. The masses that are sucked off alone relieve the legs. (And that's why I think reports like yours are all the more important years after the operation!)
    So please don't get me wrong, I think that there are women who suffer very badly and whom you absolutely have to / should help in this way, also through the health insurance, but I think the ops have also become a bit trendy.
    I think it is more and more of a moneymaking by doctors and it sometimes scares me that one may no longer bother to investigate the cause of lipedema, since eliminating the problem is so much more profitable.

    In any case, I am pleased that you can at least feel an improvement in your pain, even if it is unfortunately not as high as it was at the beginning. Maybe at some point there will be a drug or some other safe method to relieve lipedema.

  • It's a tough decision and yes there have been no negative reports. I am 56 and have been looking specifically for patients my age, there is hardly anything to be found.

    The lipedema didn't come to me until the menopause, it started slowly about 10 years ago with pain on the calves, but that's not why you rush to the doctor.
    My mother had it too, but I only realized that now with my diagnosis, she always complained of heavy legs and was more of the columnar type (no saddlebags).
    Before she died, the water ran out of her calves, I thought your calves looked the same, a doctor should see that.
    So flat knit knee socks, I was thrilled, the pain subsided and the legs as light as glasses that you put on and see sharply. Sure, uncomfortable in summer, but the positives predominated. Wouldn't have been a problem if the knees hadn't suddenly got thick and the stockings rolled up and so did the thighs. So then long stockings. No problem, effect as with knee socks, wonderful. I was concerned that the condition had deteriorated so much.
    I have to mention that I am slim 156cm, 52kg, (almost underweight in the past).
    The joy of the long stockings was short, I have osteoarthritis (with pain) in my hands and need help putting them on, or can not put them on alone, this is by no means permanent.
    So the decision was made to have an operation. If it works in April / May, otherwise at the end of the year, 2 surgery appointments, only the legs.
    The doctor also said by the way: "Keep an eye on your arms, they are also not okay". Well, I thought it would actually get worse.
    My expectations are: no stockings and no pain.
    The optical result is unimportant to me. the doctor said the skin will be wrinkled but there will be no excess skin and even if it is, if the condition is not worse than now, then i am satisfied
    Because of my advanced age, I don't want to waste any more time.
    I found the search for a doctor difficult, there are so many, for me it was important that it is without anesthesia, what it would approximately cost I already knew from a person affected who got to know during pain therapy.

    Perhaps it helps if you don't set your expectations too high and think about whether you can also live with negative consequences, which can actually be specifically asked by the doctor.

    Although my prerequisites are relatively good (stage 1, not overweight), I am still unsure.

    • I'm now 51 - also slim - also columnar legs - also aggravation of stage 1 (diagnosis 2018) now in stage 2 - the calves are mainly affected. Pain tolerable but heavy legs always drained. Think the boost comes from the hormones / onset of menopause. Compression doesn't work at all ... I feel like I can't breathe. And I don't wanna wait till it gets worse OP planned (legs) - but totally insecure because I have already heard some where things started somewhere else or got worse….
      No matter if 120 kg - or 60 kg with massive pain or only light - lipedema is just an asshole!

  • Years ago my sister had very swollen legs, although it was not clear whether it was lipedema or lymphedema. When one leg got worse, she was diagnosed with lymphedema and went to physical therapy. It is true that every experience, sensation of pain, and outcome is different. You should be put in print by some pictures!

  • Hello Caroline,
    To be honest, I hardly dare to write here because, according to a surgeon and a phlebologist, I only have lipohypertrophy and not lipedema or lymphedema as is the case with those affected here. Since I have no pain yet, I am not affected yet, so was the statement both times. I rather had myself checked because people repeatedly asked me that with my rather slim upper body (38/40) and my not so slim lower body (at the moment: 48) I clearly had lipedema. At the moment, on a few days I only have occasional pulling (especially in the right leg), heavy legs especially in humid weather and (over?) Sensitivity when, for example, a child carelessly crawls around on my legs in my daily work as a teacher.
    I am already asking myself: How much discomfort and bruises are "normal" and how much are not? After all, you always only start from what you are used to. You are only in your own body and you cannot compare it objectively. Overall, however, with most of the inconveniences and bruises, I think: "Well, you just bumped yourself there / child XY was careless / it's just humid, etc." So ... that was also what I told the phlebologist. I am not in pain in that sense, and I am not bruised more than once. Or is it? Especially with the latter statement, I find it difficult to assess it objectively. What is heaped? It happens every now and then that I have 3-5 spots on my thighs and then again not a single one.

    The phlebologist said that the risks are already higher that lipoedema could develop from hormonal changes from lipohypertrophy. I'm just wondering: What now? Should i wait? What can I do now? And I am currently also wondering whether it makes sense to reduce the fat I cannot get rid of on the lower body through liposuction in order to have a preventive effect and would find it interesting to find out how you think about it, since you have already acquired a lot of knowledge.
    Since I have Hashimoto, as a woman you have to go through a number of hormonal changes anyway and I have also used a hormonal method of contraception so far, I can well imagine that some more possibly triggering hormonal fluctuations are very likely in my life.
    I also have to honestly admit that I suffer emotionally from the effects that lipohypertrophy can bring with it.

    You already notice. I still have a lot of questions and, even if I have had enough courage, I will seek advice from a surgeon who is recognized in this regard, but I would like to take the first steps and get better information now. Maybe you still have tips? / Suggestions? / Helpful comments?
    I would be very grateful.

    • Hello dear Svenja,

      I can understand your point of view very well, as every lipedema sufferer has been in stage I or before. As you have already said correctly, lipedema can not only be determined visually, but is clearly diagnosed by pain. But even these start somewhere and you are absolutely right with the almost philosophical questions about where pain begins exactly.

      The way you describe it to me and also listened to your body, it sounds like a beginning stage I to me. It may or may not get worse. What you can do at this point is to avoid strong hormonal fluctuations as best you can and you already have that on your list! This gives you a decisive advantage. With a ketogenic or low carb diet, you can counteract the feeling of pain and storage.

      A preventive liposuction could possibly help at least optically, but as far as I know there are too few substantive studies for me (or a serious surgeon) to really assess it. Remember, the surgeon earns good money with it, whether he really gives you differentiated advice is an open question. Basically, it is a difficult intervention, especially in your subcutaneous fatty tissue, which also brings its risks and should not be taken lightly. Please take enough time to make this decision. Here on the page you will also find some articles on liposuction. 🙂

      Best regards,

      • Thank you very much for your understanding answer. I have a great deal of respect for operations. If, in my case, these are only aesthetic rather than preventive, then I very likely will not do it.
        I wish you and everyone all the best from the bottom of my heart.