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Lipedema is a complex medical condition known to affect an estimated one in every nine adult women. Also referred to as a “painful fat disorder,” the exact cause of this disease is medically unknown. However, it occurs almost exclusively in women and is a hereditary trait that starts or worsens with the onset of puberty, menopause, or even pregnancy. While lipedema tends to start out as more of a cosmetic or aesthetic issue, as it progresses, it can be very painful and even debilitating.
Board-certified plastic surgeon and lipedema specialist Dr. Jaime Schwartz is the founder of Total Lipedema Care (TLC) in Beverly Hills, CA. He has extensive knowledge about this condition and the various treatments to alleviate the pain caused by lipedema. In fact, Dr. Schwartz has developed a specialized treatment technique called Manual Lipedema Extraction, which addresses the most painful and extreme cases of lipedema. Lipedema is a progressive disorder, and while it cannot be cured, it can be managed. Read on to learn more about this condition and the unique ways to alleviate the pain associated with it.


While often misdiagnosed as a lifestyle issue, lipedema is not caused by obesity or being overweight. For years, this painful disorder was overlooked and considered an unhealthy lifestyle choice, leaving women afraid to seek help or embarrassed by their condition. Prior to receiving a definitive diagnosis, many patients wonder, “Why are my legs fat?” Others, understandably, are hesitant to talk about their thick-looking legs or cankles. Dr. Schwartz knows there is no reason to feel shameful about this genetic condition.


Lipedema is a progressive disorder that takes on definitive characteristics through each of its four stages. In the early stages, women begin to notice their bodies becoming disproportionate with weight gain while their skin still looks the same. The fatty buildup targets specific areas of the body, like lower extremities and upper arms, and can feel doughy, soft, or cold to the touch.
One of the most common symptoms associated with lipedema is pain. As the disease progresses and the fluid continues to build in the affected extremities, many patients begin to experience painful swelling around stage two. As lipedema continues to progress into the later stages, the pain and tenderness continues to worsen, eventually affecting the mobility of patients.


There are various levels of treatment for lipedema, depending on the stage, severity of symptoms, and how it affects the patient’s quality of life. These can range from diet and exercise to lymphatic massage, and eventually, surgical interventions, like lymphatic sparing liposuction and Dr. Schwartz’s specialized lipedema treatment, Manual Lipedema Extraction.
As lipedema continues to progress, patients can develop firm, small, or in some instances, tender nodules often referred to as “lipedema pearls.” These fibrous, fatty nodules can attach firmly to connective tissues underneath the skin, becoming as large as golf balls. In many patients, in an attempt to remove these nodules and provide relief from pain, lymphatic sparing liposuction is performed using a thin cannula to remove fatty buildup. Although highly effective, this treatment can leave some lipedema nodules behind, and patients are still in pain.
These left-behind nodules led to the development of Manual Lipedema Extraction by Dr. Schwartz. Typically used in lipedema patients who are in stages three and four, Manual Lipedema Extraction is deemed to be safe on the skin and nerves and can remove the lipedema fat that remained after liposuction. In this lipedema treatment technique, the beaded fat left behind is gently massaged or dislodged and is manually extracted through an incision.
Besides the extraction of remaining lipedema nodules, Manual Lipedema Extraction can:

  • Improved skin texture
  • Improve mobility
  • Increase circulation
  • Break up painful lymphatic fluid
  • Alleviate the chronic pain that is associated with lipedema


If you think you might have lipedema, it is important to find a lipedema specialist in order to get the correct diagnosis. Countless women continue to suffer from this disease and do not even know they have it. Dr. Jaime Schwartz is highly regarded in the lipedema community for his expertise on lipedema, dedicating a portion of his private practice to research and treatment of this painful disease.
Dr. Schwartz and the caring, professional staff at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA are dedicated to helping women find a way to live with this disease and improve what may eventually become a painful quality of life. If you are concerned about lipedema symptoms, treatments such as Manual Lipedema Extraction, or have additional questions, contact Total Lipedema Care today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz.