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Case Study
Oct 03
  • (L) Pre Surgery (R) After Second Surgery

  • (L) Pre Surgery (R) After Second Surgery

  • (L) Pre Surgery (R) After Second Surgery

Lipoedema Surgery – Case 33

Meet Georgina, a 24-year-old-patient from Ipswich, who first heard about Lipoedema after someone followed her into a shop and said “Hey, my legs used to look like yours when I first started, I’ve got lipoedema!”  Georgina was taken aback by this comment because she didn’t understand.  Not long afterwards, Georgina’s mum had a lymphatic massage and noticed some pamphlets about Lipoedema.  When she asked her therapist about Lipoedema, and showed her a photo of Georgina’s legs, the therapist agreed that Georgina likely had Lipoedema.  Although Georgina credits this as to when her Lipoedema journey began, she says it all really started around age 14. 

Georgina had various Lipoedema symptoms, which she says included cankles, cylindrical legs that prevented her from fitting into pants, a fat pad over both of her knees, dimply legs and a snatched waist.  She also recognises some of these symptoms in her maternal grandmother. 

Despite a healthy diet and regular exercise as a teenager, including tennis and swim club, softball and vigoro, Georgina says she always had ‘large legs’ and was bullied for being ‘fat’ when she was young.  “It didn’t make sense, but now it does.”  Georgina says.  Georgina previously loved exercising at CrossFit daily and weightlifting, however, she now believes she won’t be able to in the same way, until her Lipoedema symptoms are reduced post-surgery. 

As well as Lipoedema, Georgina also suffers from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), although she feels the two conditions are manageable for her at this time, due to seeking treatment early on in her life.  “If I had left my Lipoedema to progress further it may not be as doable” Georgina says. Georgina also suffers from emotional pain and feels her mental health has been damaged for a long time.  “I have been bullied for being a big girl almost all my life, and I retain that in my heart and mind.”

After Georgina’s MLD therapist confirmed her diagnosis directly, Georgina went to her GP to request a referral to see Dr Chris Lekich, she described this experience as ‘lacklustre’ – having expected her doctor to display more understanding.  Georgina’s Lipoedema diagnosis was subsequently confirmed by Dr Lekich during her consultation as late stage 2, early stage 3 and she described feeling satisfied that she now had a reason for her condition.   

Georgina began her conservative management journey by utilising weekly MLD therapy and compression garments.  As her surgery date got closer, she increased her MLD sessions to 2 per week, and wore compression every day for upwards of 12 hours.  Georgina says she eventually worked her way up to flat knits, and uses a compression suit, which she says has ‘worked wonders’ on her legs.  Georgina also began a metabolic diet which was tailored specifically to her to reduce her inflammation.  In warmer months, she also did swimming. 

Following her period of conservative management, in June 2023 Georgina underwent her first Lipoedema-Extraction surgery with Dr Lekich.  Utilising a protocol to manage underlying venous disease and a Lymph-Sparing technique, the Lipoedema-Extraction surgery resulted in 4.9 litres of diseased fat being removed from her lower legs. Subsequently in August 2023, Georgina underwent her second surgery with Dr Lekich on the posterior of her upper legs, which also resulted in a further 4.9 litres of diseased fat being removed from her upper legs. Georgina had her third surgery on October 2023 with Dr Teo, with that surgery being for the anterior of her upper legs, seeing a total of 5 litres of diseased fat removed.

Having started her journey at just 23 years-old, Georgina hopes to lead a normal life, even with Lipoedema. “I’m hoping I have nipped it in the bud and have reduced the chance of it coming back if I choose to get pregnant or when I go through menopause.” Georgina says. “I honestly just want to be normal, and not have to wear tights every day for the rest of my life, hiding my legs, be on a specific diet forever, or having problems exercising with my knees or ankles. I’m waiting for the day when I will be able to wear pants without it being three sizes different from my top size.” 

Georgina shares her story with the hope to raise awareness of Lipoedema. “If I have helped bring awareness to Lipoedema and to others who may potentially have it, and that helps them to start their own personal journeys, then I will also be quite happy.”  At the time of writing, Georgina remains excited to see where her next surgeries will lead, and how much of a positive impact it will have on her life.

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