News 9 MD: Living with Lipedema

News 9 MD: Living with Lipedema

(WTVM) - Some women just can't lose weight and for the estimated 11 percent of women with a chronic disorder, diet and exercise won't help at all.

There is a new procedure doctors are using that can help restore their appearance. News Leader 9's Cheryl Renee explains in this News 9 MD.

Victoria Albano, 45, knows what some people think when they see her: that she just gave up on herself.

"All this working out and exercising and all this taking care of myself wasn't doing anything," Albano explains.

When she was in her 30s, Victoria noticed her arms - and especially her legs were getting disproportionately bigger. No one knew why until a doctor treating her for an unrelated injury said the word Lipedema, a genetic issue affecting the tissue in her limbs.

No one is sure what causes it, but doctors think female hormones play a role.

"Lipedema can get bad enough where the patient is basically bed-bound," explained cardiovascular surgeon Dr. David Greuner.

Dr. Greuner uses a new liposuction-like procedure to remove the dysfunctional fat cells, making small incisions in the legs. Doctors can first flush the fat then suck it away while leaving the vessels intact.

"We can't remove all the Lipedemanous fat, ok, it's not possible, but we can significantly decrease the burden," Dr. Greuner said.

Victoria will have her surgery soon, and is ecstatic to get her life and her limbs back.

"I'm very excited, very excited," she says.

Once a patient has the Lipedema surgery it will take about a year to 18 months to see the full effect of the slimming.

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