Donvale Rehabilitation Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Donvale Rehabilitation Hospital, Ramsay Health Plus Heidelberg and Tunstall Square lipoedema services provide comprehensive care to reduce the symptoms of your lipoedema and provide you with ongoing education and skills to help self-manage your lipoedema in your day-to-day life. Your care will be managed by an accredited ALA Lymphoedema therapist.

No referral is required to come and see us, although feel free to bring any correspondence from your GP / specialist. 

What is Lipoedema?

Lipoedema is a chronic, long-term condition typically it leads to a pattern of adipose tissue (fat) accumulation from the hips to the ankles, arms and often other parts of the body. Lipoedema may be found in women of all shapes and sizes.

There are different stages of Lipoedema that can worsen with age. The progression of Lipoedema may not always occur though, and each person progresses at a different rate.

What are the symptoms of Lipoedema?

Symptoms vary, and not all women will experience all symptoms. Rather a combination and increasing severity as and if the disease progresses.

  • Symmetrical accumulation of fatty tissue in legs usually from waist to ankles. Feet are not affected, with distinctive fat rings around ankles (if Lipolymphoedema is present this may differ). Lipoedemic fat accumulation can occur in upper arms, with fat ring around wrists
  • Legs can be hypersensitive to touch and pressure
  • Lipoedemic fat pads accumulate on upper outer thighs, inner thighs and above, below and inside the knee – often causing abnormal gait and joint pain
  • Hypermobility
  • Loss of the concave spaces either side of the Achilles tendon
  • Non-pitting edema and negative Stemmer’s sign on feet and hands
  • Altered skin temperature, texture and appearance
  • Restrictive diets have very little effect on Lipoedemic fat
  • Bruising easily

What are the different types of Lipoedema?

There are 5 types of Lipoedema

Type I: Fat distribution is between the navel and the hips. It often covers the pelvis and buttocks.

Type II: The fat distribution is around the pelvis and down to the knees

Type III: The fat begins at the pelvis and continues down to the ankles. A person with this stage may have a prominent cuff of fat at the ankle.

Type IV: The fat spreads from the shoulders down to the wrists.

Type V: The fat is predominantly on the calves.

What are the different stages of Lipoedema?

There are different stages of Lipoedema that can worsen with age. The progression of Lipoedema may not always occur though, and each person progresses at a different rate.

Stage 1 A surface of a person’s skin spears normal and is smooth to touch. The person will have nodules of enlarged fat present underneath the skin. A person with stage 1 lipoedema may experience some pain and easy bruising.
Stage 2 The surface of a person’s skin becomes uneven. The skin may become dimpled, have indentations, and develop mattress-like patterns. The amount of fat will also increase in stage 2 compared with stage 1.
Stage 3 A person may develop large extensions of skin and fat. These visible, large folds of skin and fat can protrude from the limbs. This can cause the legs to appear columnar. These protrusions of fat can put pressure on a person’s joints and may affect their mobility and balance. These protrusions develop due to inflammation and the thickening of tissues in the limbs. This causes a loss of elasticity, leading to reduced blood flow and lymph flow out of the fatty tissue, causing it to grow.
Stage 4 This stage is when lipoedema and lymphoedema are present in the body. There are often large overhangs of tissue on legs and/or arms.

Lymphoedema is the build-up of fluid in the body due to a damaged lymphatic system. Lymphoedema develops when lipoedema causes the build-up of fat cells to interfere with a person’s lymphatic system.

How is Lipoedema diagnosed?

Diagnosis is mostly done on a visual basis. You may have some but not all of the Increase in symptoms of Lipoedema. Lipoedema is often noticed when significant hormonal changes occur such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

What are the treatment options for Lipoedema?

  • Compression garments: for legs and arms 
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage 
  • Use of Sequential Pneumatic Intermittent Compression Pump
  • Decongestive therapy: this is a specialised treatment undertaken over a period of time that can help reduce limb size through reducing fluid accumulation in your limbs and is particularly helpful for those in later stages.
  • Lymph sparing liposuction and or debaulking surgery; this is a specialised form of liposuction that should only be undertaken by a qualified plastic surgeon
  • Exercise
  • Diet management

For more information please contact;

You can access services via;