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Case Study
Mar 21
  • Pre-Surgery

  • Pre-Surgery

  • Pre-Surgery (L) Post Second Surgery (R)

  • Pre-Surgery (L) Post Second Surgery (R)

  • Pre-Surgery (L) Post Second Surgery (R)

Lipoedema Surgery – Case 43

Meet Sarah, a 27-year-old patient who first heard of Lipoedema on Instagram in 2020, and found descriptions of the symptoms to be eerily close to what she had been experiencing. She decided she had to receive a diagnosis to be certain.

The first big giveaway for Sarah were the size of her legs, she said, “I remember hating my thighs even in primary school. I was mortified when I went through puberty and I grew hips, as I felt my legs were even bigger. About 5 years ago I lost 15kg, but even then my legs were still disproportionate. I could see my ribs on the front of my chest, but still had a lot of fat on my legs.”

Trying to run felt as though her legs were pushing against waist deep water and playing AFL as an adult only caused soreness and bruising. Sarah felt as though this was just the way it had to be if she was unfit or too clumsy, but later she found out this was all part of her Lipoedema symptoms.

In 2021 Sarah was diagnosed with stage 1, early stage 2 Lipoedema. She was placed on a conservative management plan to reduce her symptoms and treat the disease. She found aspects of it challenging as she suffered from an eating disorder since her teens, making it difficult for her to stick to a low carb diet.

On the other hand, she found great benefit on wearing compression, finding that much of the swelling and pain could be managed by consistently wearing garments alone.

The diagnosis was an experience in of itself though. Sarah described it as, “a rollercoaster of emotions. It felt unfair that there was no amount of diet or exercise that would get rid of the diseased fat, that I couldn’t just ‘work harder’ or have a ‘quick fix’. It has felt so validating, however, to see the community of other women with bodies who look like mine. My Instagram newsfeed is filled with body positivity and strong women who have been able to access surgery and taken other measures to manage this disease.”

In September 2023, utilising a protocol to manage underlying venous disease and a Lymph-Sparing technique, a total of 4.5L of Lipoedema fat was removed from Sarah’s lower legs by Dr Teo.

Following this a further 3L were removed from her lower legs in November, and 3.2L were removed in January 2024 from her anterior upper legs. Sarah is looking forward to a fourth and final surgery some time in the future.

On the subject she said, “I am hoping from here to be able to have the four surgeries needed for my legs and arms, and be pain free. I would love to be able to work out, go running and start a family without the worry of pain and inflammation.”

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