My first consultation with Dr Heck | Lipedema Series


I’m writing this after an exhausting, but well worth adventure, of 12 hours by train through the Netherlands and Germany. Why you ask? Well I had my first consultation appointment with Dr Falk-Christian Heck at his LipoClinic. Dr Heck is a very renowned liposuction surgeon, with a specialty for Lipedema, and I am very eager to have my surgeries done by him. I feel he will offer me the best results and care that I am looking for.

I’d like to share my experience and opinions about my consultation to give you a rough idea of how these things go and are like. I will spare you all the details of traveling, I’m afraid I could be here for hours telling you about it. So without further ado lets do this.

I never thought it would have taken 7 hours, exactly, to get there. But timing was on our (me and my mum) side because we got there exactly on time. The appointment was at three o’clock and we got there strike three. The clinic was located in Muellheim an der Ruhr on the Zeppelinstr. The bus stops right outside the clinic, stop Windmulenstra. But to be quite honest it is a ways away from the center. I would recommend people who live further away just to come by car as its quicker and more efficient. The LipoClinic is on the second floor (which is the top floor) of a building with other health agencies. When standing outside there is a big sign listing the different names and the LipoClinic is on there too. The building has a lift, which is great, and the lobby looked nice and was warm (it was minus temperatures outside). When coming into the clinic you have a stylish big waiting area with white leather sofas with big fluffy cushions. They were very comfortable. There was also a coffee table with a basket full of chocolates and nuts and information on how to use the free WIFI. Near the entrance door their was a fat adsorbing machine (is that what you call them?) on display which was quite interesting. All in all it all looked very welcoming and professional. When coming in I headed to the right into a corridor and the first room on the left was the reception. Opposite are toilets (which were very roomy and nice btw). We were greeted by a lovely girl who bought us big cups of thee and coffee. I was then handed a few forms to fill in for Dr Heck. Forms asking for personal information, sizing and weight, and a questionnaire about my medical history. Shortly after filling out the forms I met Dr Heck who just came out of surgery. I must say that he is a rather dashing man and very friendly. Apparently our appointment was a date (haha). About 20 minutes later Dr Heck picked me up for “our date.”

His office is down the same corridor as the reception and his office is right at the end. It was very big and looked very professional. When coming in to the left there was a sofa, little table and chair, on the other side of the room was his desk and a little dressing area. There was a screen providing privacy, a mirror, stool, clothing stand and some toiletries. I really liked these little details.

When coming in I took a seat on the sofa and he sat in the chair opposite me.  We had various small talk about my Irish surname and about the journey getting there. Its not everyday they have international patients coming in. After that we basically went through the forms and he asked me certain questions about me and my Lipedema. Questions like when I started noticing it, which symptoms I had and how I was dealing with them. He then basically gave me a little history on Lipedema and how its shows differently per women but that we all generally share the same problems. I got a very good impression of that he knew what he was talking about and spoke a lot of his own and his teams experiences with the disease and the surgeries. Which gave me a a pleasant and satisfying feeling knowing I would be in good hands.

After about 10-15 minutes I got undressed (still wearing undergarments) and went through the physical examination. He basically had a look at my skin and my proportions. He was happy to see that my skin was in great condition and confirmed that it would not sag after surgery but instead adjust itself immediately to my new form. I would need a total of three surgeries, as I am very fortunate to be at a good weight. Otherwise it would have been four. He would start on my lower legs (first surgery), then my upper legs (second surgery) and operate on my whole arms last (third surgery). In this order, especially with my legs, its best to do it that way in order to keep a good flow of fluids in my legs and have little to no complications (swelling, bruising etc). Shortly after my examination I was measured by the lovely girl who was at the reception. They took measurements of my bust, waist, lower waist, hips, each thigh (upper and lower parts), my carves and even my ankles. They then took pictures of me from different angles in front of a white screen. After that I got redressed and we discussed the possibilities and healthcare compensation possibilities. I don’t live in Germany so the system is different but Dr Heck did write a note for my doctor here should I need to contact my health insurance about it. He also advised me to get a flatknit panty to help with the circulation of fluids and my lymphs. This would help with pain and make the fat tissue softer, so when I do have surgery it would be easier to remove. I need to wear this garment a few months in advance anyway if I was undergoing  surgery.

During the end of the discussion Dr Heck basically just talked about the many benefits of having surgery and how my life quality will improve drastically afterwards. One only needs to be brave to have the surgery. I know I want the surgeries but I am very well aware that it wont be a piece of cake but it will definitely be worth it all. The consultation came to an end and I basically left feeling very good about myself and I felt very optimistic about my Lipedema situation. I hope that I can start my surgeries this year and, as Dr Heck said, close that chapter of my life. The only thing standing in my way now is money. The surgeries aren’t cheap though Id rather pay more for a specialist to treat me than to choose a cheap random plastic surgeon whom I don’t feel 100% comfortable with. But 2017 has only just begun and there is still enough time to save money, and do research to make my health insurance help me out, but more on that in another post.

So this was how my first consultation was like with Dr Heck at the LipoClinic in Germany. I was very satisfied and happy with everything. Dr Heck is very professional and enlightening and I feel he is the perfect man for the job. I can only recommend him as I’ve heard so many good things about him through the Lipedema community, and haven seen him myself I can only say positive things. Lets hope 2017 will be the year I can say goodbye to my Lipedema.