Lymphedema vs. Lipedema

At the Granzow Lymphedema & Lipedema Center, we have improved the lives of hundreds of patients using the most advanced surgery and treatment options. From start to finish, we navigate the complex process of lymphedema treatment, surgery, and insurance coverages together with our patients to maximize their outcomes.

One of the world’s most well-respected surgeons, Dr. Granzow has made significant advances in lymphedema and lipedema. A pioneer in lymphedema surgery, he created the first truly integrated surgery treatment system, known as the Granzow SystemSM. His advances in lipedema surgery paved the creation for Lipisuction®, a lymphatic sparing lipedema surgery system that produces the best outcomes for his lipedema patients.

Lymphedema and lipedema (also known as lipoedema) are two distinct medical disorders even though both involve swelling in the arms and legs. In short, Lymphedema is a disorder of the lymphatic system and is commonly caused by dysfunction in the flow of lymph fluid through the arms or legs. Lipedema in contrast, does not involve the lymphatic system, but it is a pathologic, mostly symmetric deposition of fat that most often affects the lower extremities and almost exclusively occurs in women.



  • A disorder of the lymphatic system
  • Can be treated effectively with Granzow SystemSM, and the Granzow 2-phase processSM can both normalize the size of the affected arm or leg and also decrease the need for compression garment use and lymphedema therapy using VLNT, LVA and Granzow SAPLSM surgeries
  • Blockage of lymphatic drainage causes tissue inflammation/damage
  • Usually occurs after cancer treatment, but can be spontaneous (congenital)
  • Usually affects one arm or leg
  • Often associated with severe infections (cellulitis)
  • Should be treated by a certified lymphedema therapist
  • Worsened by obesity
  • Can be caused by morbid obesity


  • A disorder involving pathologic fatty deposits in legs and sometimes arms
  • May be successfully treated with lymphatic-sparing Lipisuction® surgery
  • Occurs spontaneously but may affect multiple family members
  • Usually affects both legs and/or both arms equally
  • Fatty deposits usually are painful
  • May result in walking/gait abnormality and skeletal issues over time
  • May benefit from treatment by a certified lymphedema therapist (CLT)
  • Worsened by obesity
  • May or may not be associated with obesity
  • May be associated with lymphedema as well, especially in the legs

Dr. Granzow’s comprehensive treatment systems for lymphedema and lipedema patients can effectively treat these conditions. Please contact our Center of Excellence with further questions or to schedule a consultation.

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