By Charlotte Nisbet
A stunning mum who was left with a gigantic leg after pregnancy has undergone liposuction to halve the size of her limb.
Sarah Jouanny, 32, has now spent over £20,000 on surgery to reduce to size of her left leg – and is now finally happy with the appearance of her the limb after undergoing targeted liposuction.
The mum of two from Perth, Australia, was left horrified when her left leg began ballooning when she was three months pregnant.
Doctors diagnosed Sarah with primary lymphoedema – an incurable condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues – after she’d given birth.
Sarah’s pregnancy had triggered a chronic problem with her lymphatic system, meaning the lymph fluid is unable to circulate around her leg properly now – leaving it weighing two stone.
Now living in Monaco, Sarah has undergone £7,000 liposuction on her left leg after spending £13,000 on Vascularised Lymph Node Transfer (VLNT) surgery, where healthy lymph nodes were taken from back and inserted into her leg in a bid to reduce swelling.
But finally, after four years of suffering with her ballooning leg, Sarah is finally able to lead a normal life with her husband, Bruce, 39, daughter Charlie, four and son Jagger, two.
Sarah has been documenting her journey on her, Lymphosaurus Rex, to raise awareness about treatments and to help other sufferers embrace the condition.
The trained primary school teacher, said: “When I was about three months pregnant I went to bed with two normal legs and the next morning I woke up and had one huge leg that was double the size.
“I was so shocked but doctors did tests and nothing showed up so I guess we all just hoped the swelling would go down after I gave birth.
“But the bigger my bump got the bigger my leg got too and it just never went back.
“I was diagnosed shortly afterwards and I felt so isolated and alone and then when I fell pregnant again it made my leg worse.
“At first I was ashamed but then I started to embrace my lymphodema and started a blog online.
“I decided to have liposuction on my leg last March as I was in a lot of pain as it continued to swell.
“It has halved in size and I’m so happy with the results that I want to show others that you can seek treatment.
“Even though there’s no cure for the condition my recent surgery has massively impacted my life.
“The skin on my left leg no longer feels really hard and although I might need further surgeries in the future, I’m happy with it and don’t have restricted movement.”
Sarah is sharing her story to give others hope and to show others that surgery is an option to relive pain.
She added: “I spent £13,000 in 2016 to have lymphnodes from my back moved into my knee and ankle after being diagnosed with secondary lymphoedema.
“But I knew this was an option after researching the condition myself as when I was diagnosed doctors just said, hey you have a huge leg, it’s going to be that way forever.
“I was never told about surgeries or options that could make a huge difference.
“Despite the risks – which can lead to lymphoedema in another limb – it’s worth it for your leg to not be such a burden.
“I had to sell our car to afford the first surgery costing £13,000 but the most recent surgery I saved for myself.
“We have health insurance but they won’t cover the costs for my surgeries as they’re classed as cosmetic.
“This baffles me as the condition can be life threatening if it leads to a skin infection called cellulitis.
“I’ve decided to share my journey online on my blog, Lymphosaurus Rex, to help others.
“I came up with the name as I think of my leg as a beast, it’s like the elephant in the room.
“I’d recommend anyone to explore the different options for the condition, I’m never giving up and although there’s not a cure yet I believe I will beat this condition.”
Sarah has claimed that her most recent surgery was life changing and is more motivated than ever to exercise and wear her compression garments.
She added: “I’m more motivated than ever now, I exercise regularly and I even managed to go skiing.
“I can squat better now the fluid has been drained and have so much more flexibility.
“I hope by sharing my story it gives others hope.
“My family are my world and I can’t thank them all enough for keeping me positive.”