Non-cosmetic liposuction for Lipoedema 

The UK Best Practice Guidelines for the Management of Lipoedema advise that surgical options may be appropriate for some patients with Lipoedema.  There are a growing number of personal testimonials and studies that show that many patients experience enormous benefits and improved quality of life from non-cosmetic liposuction for lipoedema.

The most recent report by the Potsdam team; Mojtaba Ghods, Iakovos Georgiou, Jeremias Schmidt and Philipp Kruppa on Disease progression and comorbidities in lipedema patients: A 10 year retrospective analysis shows impressive results. You can view the report here

Other reports include:

Lipedema—Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Liposuction in the Treatment of Lipedema: A Longitudinal Study

Liposuction for patients with lipoedema has been found to reduce tissue bulk, pain, bruising, improve mobility, functioning and quality of life (Reich-Schupke et al 2012; Peled & Kappos, 2016). 

There is also evidence of longer term benefits of liposuction surgery. For example in a study of 112 patients who had undergone tumescent liposuction between 5 and 11 years previously, positive changes over time were found in seven parameters. These include pain, bruising, oedema (swelling), mobility and quality of life and contributed to an overall improvement (Schmeller et al, 2012; Baumgartner et al; 2016).

Liposuction procedures are not without risk in the immediate post-operative period and may cause long-term complications (Stutz & Krahl, 2009; Rappich et al 2015),

Patients considering liposuction should research a surgeon’s experience and the facilities of clinics carefully to ensure they provide adequate standards of care and to establish that the procedures offered are appropriate for their individual needs.

Patients are recommend to undertake non surgical (conservative) treatment for at least six months before surgery including compression garments as recommended by their surgeon. Age, condition of skin and tissues will impact on results, as too will any  post weight gain. Post operative pain and swelling is inevitable – and may take several months to resolve. Some patients may need life-long compression garments to maintain results and Lipoedema will still remain a long-term condition requiring careful lifestyle management.

Women with Lipoedema denied surgery and treatments

Lipoedema UK’s 2019 survey highlights how, despite increasing evidence that non-cosmetic liposuction can drastically improve mobility, pain and enables women to enjoy a far higher quality of life along with  increased self-confidence, women with lipoedema are still denied NHS treatment and private health care insurance.

Our survey reveals the desperate financial measures that many UK women  were forced to take to obtain surgery and freedom from the symptoms of lipoedema that previously blighted their lives.  

The top row of photos above are of a 30 year old UK patient pre-surgery, diagnosed by a leading UK consultant and told that her condition would deteriorate to the point that she would need to use a wheelchair within 15 years. Despite being an ideal candidate for NHS surgery, NHS funding was denied. The bottom row of photos were taken 12 months later aged 31, after her family personally raised the £15,000 needed for 3 surgeries in Germany. She no longer needs pain medication and enjoys a dramatically improved quality of live with compression garments, as her only NHS support. 

To download the full Lipoedema UK’s 2019 survey report click here.

NHS Funding For Liposuction

Liposuction carried out for ‘cosmetic reasons’ is not normally available on the NHS. However, non cosmetic liposuction can sometimes be recommended to treat Lipoedema and Lymphoedema. For more information on the procedure and costings visit the NHS Website.


BBC 1 News report on Lipoedema – Saturday, 9th February 2019 

BBC 1 News highlighted Anne’s story to obtain NHS  surgery and compared her situation to Kate’s, Trustee of Lipoedema UK, who having seen her mother’s long struggle with lipoedema, opted to self fund non cosmetic liposuction surgery for her own lipoedema in her thirties.

BBC 1 News report version 2 featuring Dr Kristiana Gordon from St Georges Hospital, London, Patron of Lipoedema UK,  which was also aired on Saturday 9th January 2019:

Lipoedema UK also conducted a focus group with patients in June 2018 to explore how patients felt liposuction had impacted on their lipoedema and their life. Download the focus group report.