Women can be subject to a genetic condition called lipoedema.
Lipoedema is characterized by subcutaneous fat deposits. It causes not only an increase in cellulite (you can read the Newsletter of February on cellulite) but also causes a particular morphology (i.e. structure) of the thighs and legs known as “tree trunk legs”.
Pain is often associated with this condition; hematomas and variable oedemas also frequently appear.
It has been thought that this problem is caused by a hormonal issue, based on oestrogens.
On clinical examination, we find a characteristic morphology, but with an absence of true lymphoedema (i.e. lymphatic disease) and pathological oedema, whether due to cardiac or renal conditions.
The result of radiographic examinations is often normal, whether it is by Doppler ultrasound or lymphoscintigraphy. Sometimes there is a lack of lymphatic circulation. However, this one symptom does not help diagnose any specific disease and therefore cannot be used, on its own, to confirm a condition
Unfortunately, a patient will ultimately, develop “tree trunk legs”, and while her weight can remain normal, it could increase due to her larger legs. Eventually, the patient may no longer want to show her legs, and this can result in her becoming depressed.
The recommended treatment is liposuction. However, it will not restore thin and curved legs, but it will improve the structure of the legs and thighs.
This liposuction is different from conventional liposuctions. It does not depend on the material used, contrary to what some advertisements claim.
But it does require precision and perseverance on the part of the surgeon.
It is skilful and delicate work that is carried out only in fat layers of the legs. It needs to be done regularly. The follow up treatments can be a little painful but do not exceed 3 – 4 on a pain scale of 10.
The quality of the skin determines how much is removed by liposuction. Observance of good hygiene and dietary rules is essential.
Doctor Trévidic is the referral surgeon of the Cognacq-Jay Hospital Hospital in France for lymphoedema treatment.