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Case Study
Jan 17
  • Pre-Surgery

  • Pre-Surgery

  • (L) Pre-Surgery (R) Post Lower Leg Surgery

  • (L) Pre-Surgery (R) Post Lower Leg Surgery

  • (L) Pre-Surgery (R) Post Lower Leg Surgery

Lipoedema Surgery – Case 38

In 2020 Rochelle was an active 27-year-old health and physical education teacher, however she could never shake the feeling that her legs were always heavy and aching, having a swollen appearance with chubby knees, and tenderness if hit too hard. The symptoms lingered with her for so long that she began to convince herself that nothing was wrong, everything was all in her head, and this was just the body she was born with.

However, after returning home from overseas her mother noticed that her legs seemed even bigger than usual, swollen and firm to the touch. Rochelle wasn’t entirely convinced, it was likely nothing more than some weight gain, as she always seemed to develop fat in the legs first. To satisfy her mother’s worries she took an ultrasound for a DVT check, as well as being checked for lymphoedema by an occupational therapist. She didn’t have either condition, but a chance encounter with a colleague revealed something the practitioners couldn’t – Lipoedema.

Rochelle’s colleague also had Lipoedema, and could recognise the similarities in her legs. This initiated Rochelle with her own research, leading her to Lipoedema Surgical Solution. Following a group zoom consult and telehealth call, she was formally diagnosed with Stage 2 Lipoedema. Rochelle recalls, “I remember feeling relief that there was finally an answer for everything that I had been experiencing … I then remember feeling very overwhelmed by all the different types of conservative management I needed to undertake and how that would look for me.”

In the lead up to surgery, Rochelle’s main challenge physically and mentally was the requirement to wear compression garments. On the subject she says, “I have always been very self conscious about wearing them and worried about what people would think, them staring at me or asking questions. Additionally, as I live in Cairns and work outside everyday as part of my job, I have struggled with wearing compressions in the hot/humid climate we experience up north.”

To ease into wearing garments, Rochelle began wearing them during the cooler months, and even then she found it gruelling on a day to day basis. The rest of the conservative management plan was was less of an issue however as regular MLD, exercise, and a low carb diet under a dietician seemed to come more naturally under the healthy and active lifestyle she had already been pursuing.

Through a low carb diet and consistent exercise, Rochelle was able to lose 7kg of non-Lipoedema fat leading up to her first surgery.

10 months after starting her conservative management, Rochelle was able to fly down to Gold Coast and have her first Lipoedema-Extration surgery. Utilising a protocol to manage underlying venous disease and a Lymph-Sparing technique a total of 2.1L of Lipoedema fat was removed from her lower legs by Dr Teo.

With another surgery scheduled for her upper legs, Rochelle says, “I am hoping that going down the pathway of conservative management and surgery will allow me to be able to do my job for many future years and also continue to enjoy my active lifestyle pain free.”

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