Lipedema And Lymphedema FAQs

When it comes to having swelling throughout your body, it’s all created equal, right? Here at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists, we treat patients for a variety of different issues that may cause swelling including conditions like Lipedema and Lymphedema. As two conditions that are often mistaken for each other— and rightfully so— there are actually some distinct differences between these two that are worth knowing about. Let’s take a closer look at what some of those differences are.


Lipedema is a disorder in which pathologic fatty deposits develop primarily in the legs and sometimes in the arms. Usually when patients suffer from Lipedema they notice that both arms or both legs are equally as affected at the same time. Even though symptoms of lipedema occur spontaneously, they are usually caused by obesity. Early symptoms of lipedema include:

  • Fatty deposits that accumulate on the insides of the legs and knees
  • Pain near and at the deposit sites
  • Small broken veins under the skin
  • The areas may feel soft, cold, and may bruise easily


Lymphedema is a lymphatic system disorder that’s usually brought on after a patient undergoes cancer treatments. Unlike Lipedema that can affect both legs at once, many patients usually only experience symptoms in one arm or one leg. Signs and symptoms of lymphedema include:

  • Swelling
  • Changes in skin like roughness, dryness, and hardening of the skin
  • Limbs that become grossly enlarged or distorted

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, contact Dr. Heeringa today at our Traverse City or Cadillac offices today and call us at (231) 936-2068.