10 June 2021

Surgery for Lipoedema

Last night I had a chat with one of my clients, Ann, about her surgery for Lipoedema. I thought it would be useful for others to hear about her preparation, the actual surgeries and her recovery. And of course how it has changed her life.

Ann had three surgeries, two to her legs/saddlebags and one to her arms.

She started her preparation months before her surgery and it is important to remember that you can't just rock up on the day and expect to get a great result. The more you do to prepare, the better the outcome will be.

Ann got her diagnosis from the Lymphoedema Department at Macquarie Hospital then started to come for Manual Lymphatic Drainage with me.

She had a consult with Plastic Surgeon Dr Naveen Somia and he gave her a document with all his recommendations for conservative treatment leading up to surgery. Ann decided on a number of things including:

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage
  • Compression
  • SIPC - Sequential Intermittent Pneumatic Compression (that's a pump in plain English)
  • Rebounding
  • Vibration plate

Ann used a few different types of compression. She started with Bioflects during the day, to get used to wearing compression - it can be a shock to the system to go from none to Class 2 Flat Knit, which is considered the gold standard for Lipoedema.

From three weeks before her surgery she added her Mobiderm Autofit at night. She'd also been pumping daily with her Biocompression Pants.

She'd cleaned up her eating and lost as much weight as possible before the surgery.

Dr Somia took 12.5L in that first surgery, from her saddlebags, outer and inner thighs, knee pads and lower abdomen. She talks about her recovery. in the video, have a listen.

Post surgery Ann added a range of Sigvaris compression.

In our Manual Lymphatic Drainage sessions we were using a range of techniques including bandaging with Mobiderm, laser and taping with some firmer massage using oil to help break up the fibrotic areas once she could tolerate some pressure.

Ann had her second surgery three and a half months after the first, on her arms this time. She added some Bioflect arm sleeves to her compression protocol and got the arm attachment for her Biocompression pump. Dr Somia took 2.5L this time.

She had her third and final surgery ten months after the first. This time she had the backs and fronts of her legs done and 8L were removed. She's four weeks post surgery and doing fantastically well.

All up, 23L removed, one or two dress sizes down and much more energy and movement.

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