Many patients travel from around the world to see board-certified Beverly Hills, CA plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz for his expertise in body contouring procedures that he has developed such as Breast LipoLift® and Body LipoLift®. Some of these patients especially women can have disproportionately large thighs, calves, ankles, an upper buttock shelf, as well as large arms that seem to extend to the wrist. Most of these women will tell you they have tried dieting their entire lives and some have even had gastric bypass surgery to no avail. The main reason is that they have been misdiagnosed as obese and not properly diagnosed with lipedema.
Lipedema, also referred to the as painful fat syndrome, affects approximately one in nine women in the United States with more than 300 million women worldwide. It is characterized by excessive fat deposits developing under the skin in irregular ways, typically around the hips, thighs, calves, and arms. While some patients and doctors may simply misdiagnosis this condition as obesity, lipedema is a disorder that is resistant to diet and exercise, which progressively causes pain, swelling, and tenderness in the areas that are enlarged.
Symptoms of lipedema
Symptoms will vary widely depending on the patient and their stage of lipedema, but some of the common signs are:
- Onset lipedema during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause (hormonal changes)
- Lipedema is symmetrical (on both sides of the affected area)
- Column-like legs
- Pain with movement, being touched, or at rest
- Hypersensitivity to touch
- Accumulated fat on the hips and buttocks, to the knees, or even down to the ankles
- A thickened ankle that appears like a "cuff" between leg and foot
- Fat pads above, below, and/or inside the knees (which may stress the joints and cause pain or abnormal walking movements)
- Fat accumulation in the upper arm that can be seen extending to the forearm
- A "cuff" appearance at the wrist with a thickened ring
- Disproportionate arm fat that hangs creating a "bat-wing" deformity
- Since lipedema has a connective tissue disorder component, joint hypermobility can be seen
- The skin has a spongy consistency that overtime loses elasticity
- Non-pitting edema that can become lipo-lymphedema
- However, pitting edema can occur while standing for long periods of time
- Skin that bruises easily
- Negative Stemmer sign (a thickened skin fold at the base of the second toe or second finger that is characteristic for lymphedema)
- Lower skin temperature in the extremities
- Rubbery texture to the skin
- Can be triggered by or worsen following a surgery with a general anesthesia
- Diets and other weight loss techniques are ineffective
Stages of lipedema
Here is an overview of the four stages of lipedema:
Swelling of the legs that improves with elevation and compression
Skin becomes more cobblestone-like in appearance
May feel lipomas
Swelling of the legs gets worse when standing and does not resolve as easily
Tissue becomes hardened and fibrotic
Swelling usually present
Skin and fat accumulation that overhangs
Stage IV (lipo-lymphedema)
Fibrosclerosis with possible elephantiasis
Swelling almost always present
Overhanging fat and skin
"Stop looking for Doctor's. This guy is the one. He is Amazing!!. He does miracles. I has lost all hope. Thanks to Doctor Jaime SchwartzWonderful bedside manner.After having been botched by a different doctor I was terrified of having any more attempts at breast augmentation revision.In the past year and a half I have seen over a dozen doctors for breast revision. I didn't feel comfortable with any plastic surgeon until met Doctor Schwartz. Aside from having magic hands he truly loves what he does and is great at it. His staff is wonderful also.I came across doctor Schwartz by visiting doctor Amron who is one of the top Lipedema surgeons. He is also an amazing doctor. I wouldn't go to anyone else aside these two miracle doctors I'm very grateful to both doctors."- L.R. / Yelp / Jun 28, 2017
"Stop looking for Doctor's. This guy is the one. He is Amazing!!. He does miracles. I has lost all hope. Thanks to Doctor Jaime Schwartz Wonderful bedside manner. After having been botched by a different doctor I was terrified of having any more attempts at breast augmentation revision. In the past year and a half I have seen over a dozen doctors for breast revision. I didn't feel comfortable with any plastic surgeon until met Doctor Schwartz. Aside from having magic hands he truly loves what he does and is great at it. His staff is wonderful also. I came across doctor Schwartz by visiting doctor Amron who is one of the top Lipedema surgeons. He is also an amazing doctor. I wouldn't go to anyone else aside these two miracle doctors I'm very grateful to both doctors."- L.R. / Yelp / Jun 29, 2017
"There really aren't enough words to praise Dr. Schwartz and his entire team. I'm a lipedema patient and my journey is deep and complicated and Dr. Schwartz is an angel when it comes to how much he has helped me. I'd reccomened him 100% to anyone, he truly cares about his patients and his craft and I'm so grateful our paths crossed."- M.B. / Google / Mar 27, 2019
"Finally feel like someone understands about my situation. Lipedema has taken over my life. Now we are putting a plan together to beat it. Dr. Schwartz has given me hope for a normal life again. I am excited!"- S.Z. / Yelp / Sep 02, 2019
"I’ve been in pain for years with severe Lipedema with Lymphedema in my legs especially around my knees. I mean painful and 100% of the time. So Dr. Schwartz was recommended to me and after consultation, he’s really nice and very thorough, I went ahead with lipedema lipo lymph sparing I think they call it surgery. Well It’s been six weeks since surgery and I was standing in line at the post office (social distancing in effect) for about 5 minutes when I really realized that I wasn’t in pain standing there. If you’ve never been in constant pain it might be hard to know how amazing it is to realize you aren’t anymore. Not only that but because of his technique and hard work my Lymphedema in my feet and ankles is much better as well. And I’m hoping after more time healing everything will improve even more. I can’t thank him enough and all his great staff for taking such great care of me, there isn’t one person who wasn’t kind, considerate and helpful. Great Doctor and office!"- N.T. / Yelp / May 02, 2020
The more definitive treatment for lipedema is to remove the lipedematous fat using Lymphatic Sparing Liposuction. Certain medication to reduce inflammation, a healthy diet, regular exercise, compression garments, breathing techniques, and other treatments that are designed to increase circulation, blood flow, and drainage in the lymphatic system can be used. Some popular methods include dry brushing, which involves passing a brush over the skin to help alleviate pressure, vibration devices, and pneumatic compression pumps, which both work to improve blood and lymphatic flow.s
ADVANCED WATER ASSISTED LYMPHATIC SPARING LIPOSUCTION
Lymphatic sparing liposuction Is the main treatment for lipedema. Dr. Schwartz utilizes specialized techniques to releases the pressure and congestion gently so as to spare lymphatics while debulking the lipedematous fat. One of Dr. Schwartz’s preferred methods is SAFE liposuction, which stands for:
- Separation-This allows for gently infiltrating water that will protect and separate the more fragile lymphatics and blood vessels.
- Aspiration- Dr Schwartz removes the lipedema fat gently with blunt cannulas following along the lymphatics which spares them.
- Fat Equalization- Once the lipedema fat is removed with advanced water assisted lymphatic sparing liposuction, the area is then further released without suction to ensure a smooth contour and better healing process.
Techniques such as this and others allow Dr. Schwartz to gently separate the fat to be removed so that all other structures such as nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatics are left behind. Since it allows his more fragile lipedema patients to recover and heal better, he also employs this technique for all body contouring and liposuction patients he treats. Dr. Schwartz believes in treating the worst areas first so that the congestion can be relieved and allow swelling in other areas to be relieved.
ADVANCED LYMPAHTIC SPARING BODY CONTOURING
Once liposuction has been completed to reduce the fat tissue, a surgical skin reduction may aid in decreasing the lipedematous fat to recur. Dr. Schwartz has lectured at Fat Disorders Research Society (FDRS) on the fact that compression after surgery is a mainstay long-term treatment. When Dr. Schwartz tightens the area by removing the skin, the technique can effectively create a similar effect to the skin as what a compression can do. After surgery, compression garments will fit more properly. Dr. Schwartz has developed a technique known as a Body LipoLift®, which utilizes liposuction and other techniques to spare even the dermal lymphatics while removing and tightening the skin. A Body LipoLift® can be used as part of a thigh lift, arm lift, panniculectomy, and/or body lift.
SCHWARTZ RAPID RECUPERATION™
Board-certified Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz has developed protocols with "gentle anesthesia" so that most patients can go out to dinner the next night and return to work in a few days. These protocols and techniques allow for lipedema treatment, fat reduction procedures and skin tightening at the same time to reduce the number of surgeries and overall recovery at his Beverly Hills and Dubai office.
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Lipedema is treatable with the precision, protocols, and procedures of an experienced surgeon. Board-certified Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz is a renowned leader in safe lipedema care.
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