Lipedema Treatment: How Surgery Helped a Woman with Excess Fluid and Fat Buildup in Her Legs

Alisa Van­der­cruyssen, a 28-year-old aes­theti­cian from Roy­al Oak, Michi­gan, had a rare dis­or­der called lipede­ma that caused abnor­mal fat accu­mu­la­tion and tis­sue growth in her legs. She had this con­di­tion since she was a teenag­er and it wors­ened over time despite eat­ing healthy and being active. Doc­tors blamed her weight but no diet or exer­cise plan worked for her.

Alisa felt hope­less and in pain until she searched online and found out she had lipede­ma. This dis­or­der affects main­ly women and caus­es sym­met­ri­cal swelling of the limbs, espe­cial­ly the legs and hips.

Alisa was relieved to have a diag­no­sis but also sad that she had to live with this con­di­tion for so long. Lipede­ma is pro­gres­sive and can get worse if left untreat­ed. Alisa’s only option was surgery to remove the excess flu­id and fat from her legs.

Alisa went to a lipede­ma spe­cial­ty cen­ter where doc­tors per­formed water assist­ed lipo­suc­tion on her legs. They removed near­ly 2 gal­lons of flu­id from her legs — 1.7 gal­lons from her upper thighs alone. The surgery involved break­ing down the fat­ty deposits and suc­tion­ing them out.

The surgery gave Alisa the relief she need­ed. She can now walk with less pain and hopes to have more ener­gy. She also real­ized that her con­di­tion was not her fault but a med­ical issue that need­ed treatment.

Alisa wants to raise aware­ness of lipede­ma to help oth­er women who may have this dis­or­der and not know it. Lipede­ma is esti­mat­ed to affect 1 in 9 women but it is often mis­di­ag­nosed or under­diag­nosed. With prop­er diag­no­sis, treat­ment options like surgery can improve qual­i­ty of life.

By shar­ing her sto­ry, Alisa hopes to inspire oth­ers who suf­fer from swelling and weight gain that does not respond to diet and exer­cise. A med­ical con­di­tion may be the cause and treat­ment options are available.

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