The dark side of liposuction in lipedema - which hardly anyone speaks of

Liposuction for lipedema is currently on everyone's lips. Health Minister Spahn, the GBA and various instances of the network are working on making the operational measures for cash benefits. It is important to finally establish a fair basis for liposuction as an equivalent pillar of lipedema therapy. However, I have the impression that these interventions are viewed too uncritically and also romanticized. After all, these are repeated massive interventions that not only involve physical risks.

The euphoria

Lipedema patients are lucky that liposuction is available as a symptom treatment. For lymphatic patients, the Microsurgery Researched for operational possibilities, but the results currently do not offer any reason for euphoria.

Euphoria is just the right keyword. For some years now, the lipedema community has been very much calibrated to the surgical measure and hope for freedom from symptoms. Surgeons and their results are compared, costs are fought for or saved from the mouth and often everything in terms of physical and psychological well-being is made dependent on it.

Now just imagine: You have had an operation, have invested all of this and find that you have not become symptom-free afterwards. Welcome in my life.

Keep a cool head

I am often very cautious about how I express myself. The suffering of many of our fellow campaigners is great and this makes them vehemently hold on to this incontestable ray of hope.

"Thinner arms and legs, relief, less pain, no more therapeutic measures necessary."

The practicing surgeons propagate this and sometimes even negligently speak of healing. Sometimes figures from their own practice are presented that promise a fantastic success rate. With every argument in favor of liposuction, the expectations of personal surgical success rise and rise, and with it the height of the fall, should the result not match them.

Are you considering having an operation? Then I would like to give you valuable and thoughtful advice on the way:
Approach this matter as skeptically and soberly as you can possibly be. Carefully weigh up whether you run the risk of putting everything on one card and relying too much on liposuction. Because in the end it is only operations that, like any other intervention, should only be countered with cautious optimism.

Things don't always go according to plan

I had my liposuction performed in 2015. I was 26 years old at the time and I was in the most threatening dead end for my life. Although I couldn't show any dramatic proportions visually, the pain kept getting worse. Until the end, the time in which I could sit at an angle in the train or car was reduced to only three quarters of an hour. With this inability to travel, fear of the future grew in me and so I decided to get relief, perhaps even free of symptoms, through the liposuction. At this point I have to be grateful to my surgeon for clarifying me so honestly. Because things don't always go according to plan.

As you may have noticed, I was out of luck. After almost a year, I resumed conservative therapy. To this day I feel much better than before the liposuction. Nevertheless, due to the pain, I have to resort to my compression every day.

The psychological pressure is underestimated

What the hopes, the strains of the operations and the healing phase, the financial burden and the ultimately completely individual result do to our heads is seldom examined in detail in my eyes.

If liposuction in lipedema does not go as you wanted it to, you are faced with one great psychological challenge. The disappointment is great, you question everything and your feeling is right at the beginning. Only with significantly fewer nerves and strength. Do not underestimate the stress before, during and after the operations.

Therefore: the lower the expectations, the lower the case in reality.

When I'm having a bad day again, the pain boils up in me and my optimism is fighting an uphill battle with frustration, my mantra has to take hold:
"I have lipedema, lipedema doesn't have me."

Russian roulette

When I hear doctors' lectures at congresses and events, I pick up numbers here and there. When a success rate of 30 or 40% drops, I sometimes feel very different. Of course, there are all sorts of statistics, depending on the doctor or study. But if we want to look at it skeptically and soberly (we remember the damn good tip from earlier), then we really don't want to blindly believe all the numbers of those who ultimately earn money with it. We would rarely do that in other industries, so why let the unshakable hope dazzle you here?

There is a chance to be free of symptoms and we can convince ourselves of it regularly in forums and self-help groups. I just wish that all the other voices about complications, risks, long-term consequences or mixed results were just as loud as those who proudly report about a new life.

Don't get me wrong, liposuctions are an important and necessary surgical measure and luckily we have this option. I am happy that I have not returned to the condition before the operations. Nevertheless, it is important to me to signal to all those who are not symptom-free or who have experienced complications that they are not alone with their experiences.

Exchange and, above all, education are of the utmost importance in both directions. For both the light and the dark side of liposuction in lipedema.


This article appeared in the patient magazine "Lympholife" issue 38 of the Lymphologicum eV

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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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  • THANK YOU!!
    I have had an operation too and not everything is as great as it was promised in advance. It took a while to accept that. Because I too have read many and above all exclusively positive reports and results from "healed" people and seen pictures of them. It's nice that there is someone who has the courage to shed light on the other side of the coin.
    Thank you!

    • Hello Kerstin,

      It is extremely important to report on the liposuction in a differentiated and neutral manner so that you can make a sensible decision for yourself. It's nice that you see it that way too. 🙂

      All the best
      Caroline

  • "Back then I promised myself that I would never be restricted by the compression stockings." Such nonsense ... of course something like that restricts you. I am affected and have tried various compressions. I just couldn't cope with most things in everyday life and they restricted me so much that I even got tired of walking the dog. You can't stop all the time, half undress and sort your stockings, etc.
    So, after all the tests, all I have left is knee socks from an Italian company in which I can organize my everyday life in a way that is adequate for me. Not more. I live with that now and with the luck that my pain is mostly just bearable.

  • Hello Caroline,
    I plan to have an operation if financially possible.
    I see it as you say. It doesn't have to go well. After all, there are several larger interventions that the body has to process first. I think it's good that you speak openly about the downsides and report that it can also go wrong. Of course, that doesn't always have to be the case, but it's just part of it.

    Thank you very much for your educational work.
    Lovely wishes

  • Hello Caroline!
    Even if I keep hearing “cheers” from the group of those who have been operated on, there is still an inhibition threshold for me. As you spell correctly, it is still operations that do not leave a person without a trace. There is always a risk associated with it, albeit a calculable one.
    My attending doctor advises me against liposuction, as against an intensive diet. He relies on conservative therapy and exercise. So far I've been getting along well with it.
    I am disturbed by the off-screen voices, in whose eyes I seem to be a visual impertinence with my "fat legs" and who absolutely want to see me operated. You see, there are not only people who want to undergo liposuction of their own accord, but also those who like to be chatted into the act.
    My suffering is not (yet) so great that I would like to take the risk of one or more operations. Maybe that will change, but I don't think so at the moment.
    Perhaps my opinion also comes from the fact that, at 50 years of age, I no longer jump over every stick that someone holds out to me. I take a more differentiated view of the matter, even if some comments about my legs or the compression stockings that I wear hurt me.
    I have great respect for all lip and / or lymphedema patients who have found their way and stand behind their decisions, no matter what they may look like.
    All those affected who get involved on independent platforms like this one should be supported. Where else is there information on the internet that is not commercially controlled?
    Please keep it up! We need you and your information!

    Greetings from
    Tanya

  • I would have an operation on November 15.11.19th, 7000 and yes, my pain is also better. However, there was not enough suction, so it'll come back. I paid 50 € for being mentally on the ground and for XNUMX% of my day in my thoughts on my lipedema, my pain, my body and nutrition and exercise, and that with the background of my previous bulimia and anorexia. Really not nice! I find it very difficult to look at myself in the mirror and I struggle every day to stay in a positive mood and not only define myself through this disease and my body.

  • Hello. I also had an operation 10 years ago, liposuction of the thigh in two operations. I was very satisfied and happy to have overcome my fear. But after eight years, the lipedema disease began to progress, and now the arms, lower legs and bottom are also affected. I am so disappointed because I was told that the lipedema would stay away if it was suctioned off first ... Still, I would have an all-round operation if I could afford it ...