I Have Had Very Thick Legs for Years…Could It Be Lipedema?

Do you feel like you have excess fat in your hips, buttocks, or legs? Do your legs look thick in certain areas? Do you have excess fat around your ankles also known as ankle cuffs? You may have been told you are just overweight and need to exercise or go on a diet. But it could actually be more than a weight issue. It could be the signs of a chronic disorder called lipedema. Lipedema is a disease that strikes women, usually first starting in the leg area, and often times being misdiagnosed as a weight problem.

Dr. Jaime Schwartz is a board-certified plastic surgeon and lipedema specialist who founded Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA. Total Lipedema Care strives to give women answers, surgical help and emotional support who are struggling with this disease. If you have excess weight building up in your leg area, then you are not alone but getting the right diagnosis is crucial to getting the right help.

Early stages


In the early stages of lipedema, women are often diagnosed as having a weight or cellulite issue. But lipedema fat cells are quite different than regular excess fat and get abnormally worse if left untreated. Often soft to the touch at the beginning, the skin gets progressively worse becoming hard in texture and more painful.

Another common factor about lipedema is that women typically experience the first signs in their legs. In rare cases, some women may experience the first signs in their upper arms, but the target area of the legs or hip area is more common. Change in the appearance of the lower extremities is consistent for the millions of women dealing with this disease.

Helpful questions to consider


If you exercise regularly and eat healthy and notice your legs are not changing for the better, but are in fact getting worse, then you could be dealing with lipedema. Research has determined that this disease is driven by a woman's fluctuating hormones and progresses without intervention. If you are concerned about changes in your legs and concerned that it might be lipedema, here are some questions to ask:

  • Is your lower half disproportionately bigger than your upper body?
  • Do your legs look disproportionate to the rest of your body?
  • Do your legs look like a solid column?
  • Do your ankles have cuffs around them of excess fat?
  • Do you have a problem changing the way your legs look even with regular exercise and a healthy diet?
  • Did you notice excessive weight gain in your legs during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause?
  • Do your legs hurt? Sensitive to the touch or feel tender?
  • Do your legs feel swollen and get worse in heat or humidity?


This genetic disorder often targets the lower extremities and most women who are diagnosed with lipedema probably had a mother, aunt, or even a grandmother that struggled with this disease as well. If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, then seeking medical help from a lipedema specialist like Dr. Jaime Schwartz at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA should be your next step.

Progressive disease


As thickness in the legs progresses for women who have been diagnosed with lipedema, the excess fat tissue expands. Legs become heavy and extremely uncomfortable, even painful. The skin texture on the legs becomes hardened and even more sensitive to the touch. Treatment options for women at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills can include liposuction, medical garments like compression socks, and other therapy options to get relief.

Common denominators


Research and studies show that women suffering from lipedema have a similar appearance to their legs as well as other common symptoms. The column-like appearance in the legs is one characteristic while some women also experience excess fat in their ankles. The pear-like body shape where the upper portion of their body is much smaller than the lower is also a factor that sets women with lipedema apart from other women who may be struggling with their weight.

Lipedema is still being heavily researched to give women answers but it does have certain factors that make this disease stand alone. Women who see their legs change with an excess of fat build up need to seek medical advice. It is a serious condition that needs medical attention sooner rather than later.

Lipedema is more than a weight issue for women. There is no cure but women who may feel as if they have some of the characteristics of lipedema in their legs should consult a specialist like Dr. Jaime Schwartz. He is determined to help women with this painful condition while managing their symptoms and giving them treatment options. This disease is life-altering, but with the right assistance, women can live a better quality of life and get the necessary help that they need.

If you answered yes to the questions above about your legs then you need to contact Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA. Board-certified and well-renown plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz has dedicated a portion of his private practice to helping women with this chronic disease. Dr. Schwartz is a recognized expert in the lipedema community is focused on giving women the proper diagnosis so they can receive the right treatment. If you are concerned about your legs and the possibility that you could have lipedema, then please call or schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz at Total Lipedema Care today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.