Response to a patient’s question
After an operation, you may be alarmed by the appearance of your legs: too great a contrast between the size of your thighs and lower legs, not enough fat removed for your taste… Don’t panic!
In the case of significant lipedema, present in several areas of the body, several surgical operations are sometimes necessary to target one or more specific areas each time.
Avoiding too long an operation
It would be too dangerous and too painful for a patient to have to endure a long and exhausting operation if all the fat from her extensive lipedema was removed from all areas at once. Multiple operations reduce the risk of anaemia and complications. A long operation means a very long period of fatigue, more risk of anaemia, malaise, hypotension and less risk with anaesthesia.
The average duration of an operation is between 1h30 and 2 hours and the surgeon never goes beyond 3 hours for the treatment of lipedema.
A multi-part operation
First of all, it is the lower part of the body that is operated on, i.e. the lower legs. For the following operations, the surgeon will operate on the upper knees, then the thighs, and finally the arms if necessary.
During lipedema surgery it is important to remove all the diseased fat from the lipedema which can give a very “sculpted” appearance to the calf.
Of course, between operations, the appearance of the legs can give a disharmonious impression. We therefore advise our patients to be patient, to continue to wear their compression garments, to drink plenty of water (between 2 and 3 litres per day) and to remain mobile and active and to wait at least 3 months before their next operation (or even 6 months to be on the safe side in case of fatigue and/or anaemia risk).
A question of angles
One last point that is important: the angle of view of some photos and the position of the limbs. A calf or a thigh can appear bigger when you are lying down. Similarly, a leg stretched out in hypertension will highlight this or that area of a leg that is not normally as visible when the leg is at rest.
To conclude this article on “My legs look strange in post-op photos”
In short: to be sure of the result of an operation, always wait a few months and always prefer photos of people standing and in a relaxed position.