Operation, in-patient (overnight stay)
Lipedema treatment in Zug
Lipedema presents in a very specific way: the patient’s legs and/or arms are quite voluminous—what people sometimes call “saddlebags”—yet their hands and feet are usually slim. Unlike with obesity, these enlarged extremities are not the result of an unhealthy diet or a lack of exercise. Lipedema is a disorder that affects only the distribution of subcutaneous fat, and it occurs almost exclusively in women. The exact cause of the condition is unclear, but the general consensus is that a hormonal imbalance and genetic predisposition both play a role. Lipedema is a progressive disease, meaning that it will get worse over time if not properly addressed. Treating lipedema usually starts with a non-invasive therapy, which hopefully stops the disease from progressing any further. Liposuction to remove the disordered fatty tissue can represent a more permanent solution.
Liposuction for lipedema in Switzerland at a glance
Duration of surgery
Rest and recovery
About a week; no sports or physiotherapy for 3 weeks
Return to work
After a week (depending on the job and the scope of the procedure)
Compression stockings for 6 weeks
Swelling, redness, bruising, small scars, wound healing issues (rare)
Lipedema patients are often under a massive amount of psychological stress. First and foremost, their enlarged and often painful legs affect their appearance. The fact that they do not respond to diet or exercise often causes frustration, as prior to their diagnosis, the women have no way of knowing why their efforts are having no effect. Secondly, other people tend to assume that patients are merely obese due to an unhealthy lifestyle, which leaves the patients feeling unjustly accused, yet ashamed. Many end up progressively withdrawing from social life.
Moreover, obtaining the correct diagnosis often proves a real odyssey. By the time their lipedema is finally discovered, many women have already suffered through numerous medical appointments. Luckily, more and more physicians have begun specializing in the condition, so women have a better chance of getting proper treatment more quickly.
Non-invasive treatment methods
Non-surgical therapies are used as a way of actively preventing lipedema from worsening. I work in close cooperation with specialist physiotherapists in the region to determine the correct course of action in this regard. Special compression stockings and manual lymphatic drainage can be particularly effective in helping release the excess fluid and reduce pain or other symptoms. However, these therapies cannot cure the condition itself. Surgical intervention in the form of liposuction is necessary in order to remove the excess fatty tissue.
What to expect during lipedema therapy in Zug
On the day of your liposuction procedure, I will start by marking the affected areas on your legs and/or arms. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, I will make tiny incisions into your skin and guide a thin cannula into the tissue, which I will then use to suction the pathological fatty tissue out.
There are several methods of liposuction. The one considered “standard” is known as tumescent liposuction, in which a large quantity of tumescent fluid (consisting of water and a local anesthetic, among other things) is fed into the tissue being removed. The fluid causes the tissue to expand and firm up, which makes it easier to suction out.
In water-assisted liposuction (WAL), instead infiltrating the tissue with a large amount of fluid, we loosen it with the help of a special computer-controlled water jet on the end of the cannula. WAL is considered a gentler alternative to conventional liposuction, and studies have shown that it provides significantly better results. This aligns with my own clinical experiences as well—water-assisted liposuction is the technique I prefer to use in treating lipedema.
Recovery and follow-up care
After surgery, patients usually stay overnight at the clinic for monitoring. After returning home, the most important thing you can do is rest and recover. Special compression clothing will help reduce your swelling and accelerate the healing process. Lymphatic drainage should be done as well. Liposuction smooths the skin and decreases the overall volume of the legs, which in turn reduces pain and other symptoms. Most patients are able to return to work after one to two weeks. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for the first four to six weeks, but low-impact walking can resume sooner, and will even support the healing process.
Frequently asked questions
More information and FAQs on lipedema and liposuction in Zug
What are the risks associated with lipedema treatment?
After liposuction, patients commonly experience temporary swelling and bruising; the treated areas may also feel tight or numb. More serious complications such as wound healing issues, infections, or thromboses only occur in very rare cases. Any potential risks will be identified and discussed a spart of our comprehensive analysis and consultation session. In general, this procedure is low-risk and provides good results.
What happens if lipedema goes untreated?
If left untreated, more and more fat cells will collect in the patient’s subcutaneous tissue, causing her legs and/or arms to grow even more; this usually causes other symptoms to worsen as well. In addition to causing tenderness and increased bruising, the excess fatty tissue can press on the lymph nodes, leading to lymphedema. This is also known as secondary lymphedema or lipolymphedema.
What does non-invasive therapy involve?
Conservative, or non-invasive, lipedema therapy is called Complex Physical Therapy (CPT). It includes the following:
Manual lymphatic drainage
Instructions for self-treatment
Stages of lipedema
Tendency toward saddlebags; skin is smooth and even; subcutaneous fat feels thickened
Significant saddlebags; dimpled, uneven skin surface; thickened subcutaneous tissue layer
Significantly enlarged extremities; large, deformed flaps of skin; large, hardened deposits of subcutaneous fat
How much does lipedema treatment cost?
Liposuction costs depend on several factors, including how much fat needs to be removed. Advanced-stage lipedema usually requires extensive surgery to remove the fat cells and alleviate symptoms permanently. I will discuss treatment costs with you as part of your personal consultation at my clinic in Zug.
When will insurance cover the cost?
Insurance usually covers the cost of non-invasive treatment, minus the patient’s co-pay. However, providers may only cover a certain number of manual lymphatic drainages or compression stockings per year. Patients usually have to pay for liposuction out of pocket, though insurance providers sometimes offer coverage in severe cases. If your treatment is medically indicated, I will submit insurance paperwork on your behalf. I would be happy to discuss this topic in more detail with you in person.
How long do lipedema treatment results last?
Once destroyed and removed from the body, fat cells cannot grow back, so liposuction is considered a permanent procedure. Even so, patients should maintain a balanced diet and a regular exercise plan to maintain their results. For lipedema, in particular, comprehensive, interdisciplinary treatment is the only realistic way to achieve lasting improvement. Should you require additional medical support, I would be more than happy to put you in touch with my cooperative partners specializing in lipedema therapy.