Lipoedema is often confused with lymphedema. Lipoedema is frequently unrecognized and often under-diagnosed. It is a condition where pathological changes in cellular function of adipose (fat) cells lead to fatty tissue edema, thickened collagen fibers, venous stasis, and lymphostasis. Lipoedema patients will often experience pain in the edemic region. A significant difference between lipoedema and general fat storage is that regardless of an individual’s weight loss effort there will be no change in the volume of the lipoedemic region, even with minimal food intake.
Lipoedema occurs more frequently in women and tends to be localized to areas such as the thigh, buttocks, lower abdomen, and sometimes the arms, while hands and feet are unaffected and remain slim. Lipoedemic regions are at risk for cellulitis, fungal, and bacterial infections.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) are indicated to treat lipoedema. Compression bandaging or garments are often difficult for individuals to tolerate due to the area being painful, however MLD, because of its gentle nature is often effective for reducing both the volume of the edema and the pain associated with the lipoedema. MLD/CDT do not eliminate the extra adipose tissue.
Absolute & Relative Contra-Indications
Contra-indications are conditions or factors that serve as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment. Due to the effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) in accelerating lymph flow there are a number of health concerns that do not allow individuals to receive MLD. If you are experiencing any of the following situations please discuss these with a therapist prior to receiving any treatment:
- Untreated Malignant Diseases
- Acute Inflammations
- Recent Thrombosis
- Cardiac Insufficiency
- Renal Failure
For more information on lipoedema and efforts here in Alberta, visit Lipedema Alberta’s website HERE