Lipedema FAQs

Marcia V. Byrd, M.D.FAQ's about Lipedema - Marcia Byrd, M.D., Lipedema Specialist in Atlanta is the Medical Director of The Lipedema Liposuction Center as well as Byrd Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Center. For more information about The Lipedema Liposuction Center, click here.

Knowledge is critical when dealing with a life-altering condition such as lipedema. Dr. Marcia Byrd and her team of experts can answer your questions and help you further understand the facts about lipedema as well as treatment options. Don’t wait – a consultation could change your like!

Q: What causes Lipedema?

A: The cause of lipedema is not known, but there is a family history of the condition in up to 50% of cases. The fact that it starts in puberty or pregnancy suggests that hormones have an influence.

Hormones. but doctors suspect female hormones play a role. That’s because the condition affects mostly women, and it often begins or worsens at puberty, during pregnancy, following gynecologic surgery, around the time of menopause, or when you’re taking birth control pills.

Genes. Scientists also believe genes are involved, because many women with the condition (20% to 60%) have family members with the condition.

Lipedema is a chronic condition that affects many individuals, particularly women. It is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fat cells in certain parts of the body, such as the legs and buttocks, causing disproportionate swelling and pain. While lipedema is a complex condition, there are effective treatment options available, including lipedema surgery, lymphatic drainage, and compression therapy.


Q: How do I get diagnosed for lipedema ?

A: Lipedema is diagnosed by your doctor. Diagnosis must be performed in person. Dr. Marcia Byrd is a lipedema specialist who has performed thousands of diagnoses and surgeries. There are no blood tests or scans for the diagnosis; it is diagnosed by touch and sight only.

During the physical examination, Dr. Byrd will examine the affected areas, assessing the distribution of fat cells and checking for any tenderness or sensitivity.

Considering how many suffer from it, lipedema is not a disease that is well-researched and can be misdiagnosed, as its symptoms can be similar to other conditions like obesity or lymphedema. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical assistance from a knowledgeable professional, like Dr. Byrd.  She can provide an accurate diagnosis and guide you towards appropriate treatment options, including qualifications for insurance coverage. There are only a handful of specialists on the subject, and she is considered the best in the country.

Q: Is there a cure for Lipedema?

A: Currently, there is no cure for lipedema, but treatment can help improve symptoms. There are numerous ways in which lipedema can be managed. Diet, exercise, compression and lipedema surgery therapy all play a role. 

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of lipedema?

A: Understanding the signs and symptoms of lipedema is crucial for early diagnosis and effective management of the condition. The most common symptom is the abnormal accumulation of fat cells in the lower body, specifically the legs and buttocks. This adipose tissue is often painful and sensitive to touch, causing discomfort and limiting mobility.

Individuals with lipedema may also experience a feeling of heaviness or tightness in the affected areas, as well as increased bruising and swelling. It is important to note that these symptoms are not a result of diet or lifestyle choices, but rather a genetic predisposition.

Lipedema is a disorder that almost exclusively affects women and can be hereditary. Women of any size can get it, and it is characterized by a surplus and expansion of fat cells in a particular pattern in the arms, buttocks, hips, and legs. Recognizing these signs and symptoms is essential in seeking appropriate medical assistance and implementing a comprehensive treatment plan.

Q: What are treatment options for lipedema?

A: Once a proper diagnosis of lipedema has been made, it is important to explore treatment options that can help manage the symptoms and improve overall quality of life. While there is no cure for lipedema, there are various approaches that can bring relief and prevent the condition from worsening.

  1. Conservative management: This involves non-invasive measures aimed at reducing pain, swelling, and discomfort. It may include lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and wearing compression garments to improve lymphatic flow.
  2. Physical therapy: Specialized physical therapy techniques can help reduce swelling, improve mobility, and enhance overall function. Manual lymphatic drainage, decongesting therapy, and various exercises tailored to the individual’s needs may be incorporated into the treatment plan.
  3. Marcia Byrd, M.D. is a lipedema surgery specialist. Surgical interventions should be considered to remove excess fat deposits and improve the shape and contour of the affected areas. She has developed her own customized techniques where liposuction is performed under local tumescent anesthesia (not general). Lipedemic fat is carefully removed using lymphatic-sparing (WAL) Water-Assisted Liposuction(PAL) Power-Assisted Liposuction, and Vaser Liposuction., using as tumescent, water-assisted, or laser-assisted liposuction.

Q: What are the benefits of lipedema treatment?


  • Stop Disease Progression: By removing Lipedemic fat, the progression of the disease is halted and guards against the further development of a secondary disease called Lymphedema.
  • Reduce Pain: Many patients experience a relief in lipedema-related pain almost immediately after surgery.
  • Increase Mobility: By reducing the size and swelling of lower limbs, patients mobility is improved, allowing them to participate in a more active lifestyle.
  • Enjoy a More Proportionate Body: Post surgery, the size of the lower body is more aligned with the size of the upper body. Clothes fit better and patient confidence gets a boost!

Q: What Happens if lipedema is not surgically treated?

A:  Lipedema treatment is not a cosmetic procedure, but a medically necessary procedure to relieve pain and halt the progression of the disease. If not removed, Lipedemic fat continues to collect in the lower limbs and eventually accumulates in the upper arms and torso. As lipedema progresses, pain and swelling increase, mobility declines, and blood circulation and lymphatic functions are compromised.

We hope these Lipedema FAQ’s will help you better understand lipedema. Dr. Marcia Byrd and her team of experts care for patients throughout the United States and Canada. Locally, Dr. Byrd services the North Atlanta, GA area including Roswell GA, Alpharetta GA, Milton GA, Woodstock GA, Canton GA, Dunwoody GA, Sandy Springs, GA and more. If you suspect that you suffer from lipedema, call (770) 587-1711 and schedule a consultation. Be the best you can be and live a full life – there is no reason to wait!