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Case Study
May 24
  • Eleisha and fellow LSS patient Jessica. Eleisha pictured 4 days post-third-surgery.

  • (L) Pre-surgery (R) Post-second-surgery. *Please note, image edited slightly to protect patient's privacy.

  • (L) Pre-surgery (R) Post-second-surgery. *Please note, image edited slightly to protect patient's privacy.

  • (L) Pre-surgery (R) Post-second-surgery. *Please note, image edited slightly to protect patient's privacy.

Lipoedema Surgery – Case 46

Meet Eleisha, a 28-year-old patient from Queenstown, New Zealand.  Eleisha first encountered the term Lipoedema during a Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) appointment in July 2022.  Despite being previously diagnosed with Mast Cell Hyperactivity; it was a suggestion from a former patient that led her to consider Lipoedema as a potential underlying issue.  Initially sceptical, as the images online did not reflect her symptoms, Eleisha dismissed the possibility. It was only after revisiting a former patient’s case study and further discussions with her own MLD therapist—who noted the fibrotic tissue characteristic of Lipoedema—that she began to explore this path more seriously. 

Reflecting on her earlier symptoms, Eleisha recognised a pattern of bruising easily and a persistent inability to lose weight from her hips and arms, despite maintaining an active lifestyle.  “You know something’s wrong, but you think it’s just your fault” Eleisha says.  She also noted similar traits in her paternal grandmother and her sisters, hinting at a genetic link. 

Lipoedema severely impacted Eleisha’s ability to engage in activities she loved such as rowing and eventually, even simple daily tasks like walking. The physical limitations were closely intertwined with profound mental health struggles, including severe eating disorders as a teen and depression, exacerbated by a distorted body image and societal pressures. Eleisha says her relationship with food is still a work in progress, and still requires monitoring for any problematic thought patterns. She admits conversations around food can still be triggering at times despite working with counsellors for over a decade.

In June 2023, Eleisha received an official diagnosis of Lipoedema from Dr Nicholas Teo, which Eleisha says brought a mix of relief and intense anger. Eleisha expressed deep frustration with the medical community for their oversight, which left her struggling with unexplained symptoms and significant life limitations for years. This anger was compounded by her experiences with Mast Cell Hyperactivity, which masked and complicated her Lipoedema symptoms.  Prior to both of her diagnoses Eleisha was so unwell she had to go on stress leave and has been unable to work full-time for 3 years now.  Initially, Eleisha says she ignored a lot of her pain because she thought it was her fault, due to being overweight.  “I was so utterly disappointed that the last 17 years has been such a battle to get through life and even do normal things. But also, I’m very happy that I’m not a lot older and only figuring it out.  At the rate that I’ve been declining, if I hadn’t got a diagnosis, which I will point out, never came from a GP, if that hadn’t happened, I would probably still be declining in health.  It’s quite upsetting because you watch what other people can do at this age, and I had hopes and dreams at one point that I had to set aside and grieve for because I was so chronically ill.  Whereas as soon as I started getting treatment and doing the conservative management stuff for Lipoedema, I started to get better. So yeah, anger. It was a big, big part and still is a big part of my journey currently.” 

Before approaching Lipoedema Surgical Solution (LSS), Eleisha had already experimented with diet changes and MLD therapy. Impressed by the holistic approach of LSS and the thoroughness of their pre-surgery evaluations, Eleisha felt confident in her decision to consult with Dr. Teo. Her conservative management included custom-fitted compression garments and dietary advice tailored to reduce her symptoms and prepare her for potential surgery, under the guidance of clinical nutritionist Kimmi Katte. 

In January 2024, utilising a protocol to manage underlying venous disease and a Lymph-Sparing technique, a total of 4.8 litres of Lipoedema fat was removed from the Eleisha’s lower legs by Dr Teo.  Being from New Zealand, Eleisha recalls that the Queensland Summer was certainly an adjustment, especially while wearing compression.  Subsequently in March 2024, a further 5 litres were removed from the anterior of her upper legs by Dr Teo, Eleisha also opted to undergo a Renuvion procedure during this surgery.  Just over 8 weeks later in May 2024, Eleisha had a further 5 litres removed from the posterior of her upper legs and hips by Dr Teo, also undergoing Renuvion during this surgery.  Eleisha has a potential 2 x further surgeries still to undergo before her surgical journey is complete.

Today, Eleisha is finally hopeful about reclaiming some normalcy in her life. She is committed to her treatment journey and remains open-minded about her future, recognising the psychological and physical journey ahead. With improved awareness and management, she aspires to work full-time again and participate more actively in the beautiful community where she lives. 

Eleisha shares her journey to emphasise the significant difference early diagnosis can make in managing Lipoedema and improving quality of life. She stresses the need for more resources and support for those affected, particularly in accessing necessary treatments like compression garments and MLD, which remain financially out of reach for so many. 

Eleisha wants other women with Lipoedema to know “It’s not your fault… Join a support group, connect with those who understand your struggle. We need to use our voices to push for awareness and help for others. We need to stand with our sisters.” 

Read more about Eleisha’s journey on her Instagram page.

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