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 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
"If I could give 6 stars I would!! Dr. Schwartz is AMAZING!!!!!!!! I have been researching breast augmentation doctors for the past three years and have been on numerous consultations. The minute I met with Dr. Schwartz, I knew I was in excellent hands. Dr. Schwartz treats you like a family member instead of a patient. He is very honest and really takes his time with you. Dr. S is an artist!!!! I was very scared of the pain for a breast aug because all my friends who had their boobs done said it feels like an elephant is sitting in their chest. Not to mention, I have the lowest pain tolerance ever!!!!!! ( accupuncture hurts me). I'm not sure the technique he uses, but I had ZERO pain and only took ibuprofen. The day after surgery I was shopping at home goods ( but not lifting anything). I was and am still blown away that I didn't have ANY pain!!!! My boobs look great and natural and I couldn't be any happier. I have now started going to Dr. Schwartz for my Botox and filler. He is amazing with that too. I can honestly go on and on about how great he is, but the truth is, you have to go see him for yourself. My first consultation he spent 2 hours with me and answered every question I had. The office staff is great too. Nicole and Dawn are amazing too."- L.W. / Yelp / May 30, 2018
"What an amazing experience I had... Dr. Jamie s Schwartz is truly a gift from god!!! His staff is top notch!! Dawn was very helpful and super nice.. she couldn't of made my experience any better. Thank you again! I am truly blessed to have met you all..."- A.F. / Yelp / Nov 06, 2016
"I know Dr. Schwartz professional on a few levels dating back to his time training during residency at Georgetown. While I have not had any surgery from him, I have referred several friends and patients. While he is "skill wise" one of the best in the nation, based on his education, training and reputation among other doctors; what I feel truly sets him apart is his attention and ability to empathize with patients. When you refer a patient or friend to a specific doctor, it is your reputation on the line as well...especially when it comes to surgery. Honestly, everyone has always come back to me to say "thanks, we loved Dr. Schwartz!""- P.W. / Yelp / Nov 22, 2015
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.
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:
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.
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 fat reduction procedures and skin tightening at the same time to reduce the number of surgeries and overall recovery.
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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.