May 2022

Hi <<First Name>>
Welcome to issue #7 of Lipoedema Matters, a monthly newsletter created by Lipoedema Surgical Solution and Dr Chris Lekich.  
This month we chatted to Nicole Little, an Occupational Therapist from Mackay, Queensland, held a very special Lipoedema photoshoot (sneak peak below!) and answered a question regarding conservative management.

Wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers, mother figures, grandmothers and friends, may you feel nurtured and supported on this special day and always.

Lipoedema is a hereditary condition which tends to affect multiple generations of women. Once diagnosed, women who suffer from Lipoedema often notice symptoms in other family members such as mothers, sisters, aunties and grandmothers too. Unfortunately, Lipoedema is frequently misdiagnosed, or women receive no diagnosis at all. A Lipoedema diagnosis can often be a missing piece of the puzzle for several generations within a family, so it remains important to raise awareness.

This is a behind the scenes image of our star patient Rhianon with her mum Pauline, taken at our recent photoshoot, to be released soon for Lipoedema Awareness Month in June.

Chatting with Occupational
Therapist Nicole Little

Nicole is an occupational therapist with a specialised focus of Lipoedema and Lymphoedema from Mackay, Queensland.  She is passionate about finding creative solutions to suit patient's needs.

I worked in the public health sector for over 13 years, close to 10 of which was in an outpatients oedema clinic covering areas of Lymphoedema & vascular management.  In 2021, I proudly joined the Upper Limbs & Things team in Mackay, Qld. In a way, I’m the “& Things” aspect of the team.  We are all Occupational Therapists, however my focus is in Lymphoedema, Lipoedema, Scar, Burns & Venous management, whereas my colleagues’ caseloads are comprised of Hand Therapy patients (Upper Limbs). 

I completed my advanced Lymphoedema training at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital in 2019 and am an Accredited Therapist of the ALA, so I am certified, trained and experienced to treat any area of the body. I have some very exciting professional development goals for service delivery to the Mackay region in 2022 – I have been accepted to do my yoga teacher training & Yoga for Lymphoedema & Lipoedema management, which I will be able to deliver to the Mackay region by the end of 2022.

Our training/education covers Lipoedema, but clinically it is not as common as lymphoedema.  I can clearly remember my first encounter with a patient who was living with Lipoedema, who had initially been incorrectly diagnosed with Lymphoedema. This occurred close to 7 years ago.  This lady holds a very special place in my heart & my learning. There was so much about the way she presented, what she was telling us by way of her daily activities: what she ate, her level of activity & movement, even down to her past that didn’t “add up” to the Lymphoedema picture.  Measuring her for compression garments was initially complex, as we had to adjust “typical” anatomical landmarks for a good fit for her. In order to do so we enlisted assistance from a clinical advisor. It was through this consultation process that our patient was diagnosed with Lipoedema rather than a purely Lymphoedema diagnosis.  Working with this lady to understand what was occurring medically, it was evident that Lipoedema was primarily the condition that this lady had been living with for the majority of her life. 

My caseload is beautifully varied. I see pre & post operative cancer patients (most commonly breast or melanoma), patients for scar management post surgery, traumatic injury, radiation therapy or burns, lymphoedema, Lipoedema, venous insufficiency and those with chronic venous ulcers.

A large component of my caseload is also comprised of patients who have established lymphoedema, in varying locations, so I deliver a variety of therapeutic options specific to their presentation which includes manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage, suitable compression options (be that garments, wraps, night garments, or all of the above), lymphatic taping, Sequential Intermittent Pump compression prescription, exercise & movement recommendation, skin care recommendations and bandaging schedules for volume reduction. Many of these management/treatment techniques overlap into the Lipoedema clinical sphere also.

I’m inspired by the creativity that can be achieved with compression therapy so I enjoy seeing people who come to me with “achy, swollen legs” or varicose veins, venous insufficiency or venous ulcers. Being able to make a difference with compression in these instances is so professionally and personally satisfying

More recently I’ve had patients referred to me with “lymphoedema” & or even present to me with self diagnosed  “fat legs” which in fact have been Lipoedema presentations. These presentations have been of varying stages & have had varying goals for management: conservative, right through to wanting a surgical solution. 

The take home message is it’s not a recipe – the condition presents differently for everyone and individually as each needs to be treated with unique care & attention to reach their therapeutic goals. This includes on-line or zoom consultations if required.

Upper Limbs and Things offer all areas of Complex Lymphatic Therapy treatment, including education, assessment, skin care management, development of unique patient directed management plans, compression management, appointments for Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Sequential pneumatic pump use and bandaging for volume reduction.

Self referrals or referrals from any medical professional to the service are accepted.  Call (07) 49427576 or book online.


Go to Website

Nicole's Tips for
Living with Lipoedema

Find your village – there’s hope.

So many women have suffered silently with this condition, blamed themselves, taken years to love themselves & accept this. So with all of that burden, why should they alone have to be the ones to manage it?

Find the people in your corner that you resonate with & trust. Find your health professional who can provide the services that you need. Find your exercise physiologist, find your nutritionist, find your GP, your Accredited Lymphoedema Therapist – find all of the key players that you need who will recognise this condition & support you in managing it. 

Find clinicians who will support you to live your life the way you want to live it with this condition, not despite this disability. As the trendy phrase says “Live your best life”.

Ask the tough questions to make sure you want them on your “team” so you are receiving quality, expertise and care from people you connect with.
Try to remember results you achieve and the change or maintenance you see – it will be progressive, it will ebb & flow & that is ok.  


Image by Sarina Sommerauer
Lineart: I love lineart because it is very reduced and minimalist. With my three variations, I want to give lipoedema sufferers the opportunity to identify with the body shape depicted.

LSS Clinic Updates

Awareness Photoshoot
Last month we held a very special stylised photoshoot to celebrate women with Lipoedema, and continue our efforts to increase awareness of the condition and the treatment options available.  We're so grateful to the ten beautiful women with Lipoedema, who volunteered their time as models to make this event possible, and of course the amazing team on the day including Jade Piper from Jade Piper Photography and Riely Saville from Style by Riely.  We look forward to publishing these photos next month for Lipoedema Awareness Month in June - watch this space!

Questions & Answers

Do you have a question about Lipoedema?  Reach out to us via our Facebook or Instagram pages, or email us here and our team will do their best to answer!
This months question: 

As Lipoedemic fat can't be dieted or exercised away, how can someone go back a stage by conservative management?

LSS Answer:

Stages are not degree of severity - they are a descriptive element in an attempt to classify the disease. When a patient diligently follows the conservative management protocol, the inflammation and congestive component will reduce. This reduction will lead to a softening of the subcutaneous tissue and disappearance of the lumps.  Clinically, those patients will show an improvement of their clinical assessment and can say their descriptive stage has changed.

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Get outside and into nature!


My peace is more powerful than my pain.

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