REFER A PATIENT - Please click here for details.
Case Study
Dec 21
  • Sandra in 1980

  • Sandra in 2016

  • (L) Pre-Surgery (R) Post 4th Surgery

  • (L) Pre-Surgery (R) Post 4th Surgery

  • (L) Pre-Surgery (R) Post 4th Surgery

Lipoedema Surgery – Case 37

Although she is 65-years-old now, Sandra knew as a teenager that her legs were different to others girls. She recalls, “I had big thighs, hips and bum. My waist was much smaller, all out of proportion to the bottom half of body. My sewing skills have come in handy as buying clothes to fit my legs was impossible.”? 

Sandra tolerated her legs, but as decades passed her symptoms steadily escalated, and after her second pregnancy combined with menopause, she could no longer afford to ignore the growing pain. Her legs made it an impossibility to stand all day as her work required, she tried every weight loss program she could find but wasn’t able to lose her lower body weight. Finally, the weight gain led to her diagnosis of depression in 2010. 

Focusing on her mental health, Sandra received treatment, and was fortunate enough to still be able to travel overseas. Even while on holiday though she was reminded of her legs, as she had to wear a seatbelt extender on planes and was forced to walk slowly with many rests and putting her legs up. By now even her arms were starting to show signs. 

During a trip to England however, she read a newspaper article about Lymphoedema and Lipoedema which clicked. Her doctor agreed she had signs of lymphoedema and Lipoedema, leading Sandra to see an MLD therapist and gaining benefit from hydrotherapy. 

With the knowledge Sandra has now, she believes she inherited Lipoedema from her paternal grandmother, whose legs required compression stockings. Comparing photos, Sandra can see similarities in their arms and legs, and can further identify the trademark Lipoedema appearance across females in 3 previous generations. 

While Sandra had finally started seeing improvement from her MLD therapist, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as covid forced everyone to shut down, and Sandra struggled to find treatment with the restrictions. She says, “My depression got worse and in February 2022 I was so down because of the pain and not being able to see a way forward … I sort of gave up then and thought my only way forward was a wheelchair.” 

After finding Lipoedema Surgical Solution on Instagram, Sandra felt a new path open up, “I had this glimmer of hope that maybe this was the solution. This was the turning point, I felt like I did have a future … I tossed and turned all night and next morning I talked to my husband about what I found. He had been with me along the journey. He read the website, and said ‘go for it,’ let’s check into this to see if it can help.” 

After a group zoom call with Dr Lekich and a telehealth appointment, Sandra received her first formal diagnosis of Lipoedema in March 2022. She was immediately put on a conservative management plan to soften the diseased fat in preparation for surgery. Within weeks of starting conservative management, she could sleep without taking pain medication. 

The closest in person consult was a 4-hour drive away to Melbourne. Although the trip proved worthwhile, as both Sandra and her husband had decades worth of questions saved for the appointment, for which they received realistic responses and potential outcomes. While Sandra was losing weight from the conservative management plan, 6 separate surgeries would be needed to fully remove the Lipoedema fat. 

Sandra was fortunate enough to be able to undergo the surgery, which she credits to retirement / inheritance funds, as well as a very supportive husband and adult children. In 2022 Sandra underwent her first Lipoedema-Extraction surgery, utilising a protocol to manage underlying venous disease and a Lymph-Sparing technique a total of 7L of Lipoedema fat was removed bilaterally from her lower legs by Dr Lekich/Teo. 

Subsequently, Sandra underwent a second procedure on her anterior thighs which saw 11L removed, weeks later 4.8L were removed from her posterior lower legs, followed by her posterior upper legs where 5L were removed. Her final leg operation was on her upper legs in mid-2023 to remove 4.9L, and ultimately a procedure on her arms was required which removed 4L of Lipoedema fat. 

Reflecting on the experience Sandra says, “I had never had surgery before, I was so scared for the first one, but I was so well looked after. I have found the recovery took a while, though there was not as much pain as I thought. I am a work in progress, I am getting more mobile every day. 

At one point Sandra believed she would be restricted to a wheelchair and could never travel again, but in 2024 she plans on returning to England. She is looking forward to a plane seat which she can comfortably fit in, and doesn’t require a seatbelt extender. 

“I look after our Darling Granddaughter (Maya turning 2 in July 2023) 2 days a week. The biggest difference is I can now pick her up and walk around with her in my arms. I couldn’t do that before my surgery.” 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *