Liposuction is an effective treatment for lipedema-results of a study with 25 patients

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2011 Jan;9(1):33-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2010.07504.x. Epub 2010 Sep 7.
[Article in English, German]


Background: Lipedema is a painful, genetically induced abnormal deposition of subcutaneous fat in the extremities of almost exclusively women. The pathogenesis is unknown and no curative treatment is available. Conservative therapy consisting of lymphatic drainage and compression stockings is often recommended, but is only effective against the edema. Some patients show a short-term improvement when treated in this way. The removal of the increased fat tissue of lipedema has become possible by employing advanced liposuction techniques which utilize vibrating microcannulas under tumescent local anesthesia. The effectiveness of this approach to lipedema is the subject of this study.

Patients and methods: 25 patients were examined before liposuction and six months thereafter. The survey included the measurement of the volume of the legs and several parameters of typical pain and discomfort. The parameters were measured using visual analogue scales (VAS, scale 0-10).

Results: The volume of the leg was reduced by 6.99 %. Pain, as the predominant symptom in lipedema, was significantly reduced from 7.2 ± 2.2 to 2.1 ± 2.1 (p < 0.001). Quality of life as a measure of the psychological strain caused by lipedema improved from 8.7 ± 1.7 to 3.6 ± 2.5 (p < 0.001). Other parameters also showed a significant improvement and the over-all severity score improved in all patients.

Conclusion: Liposuction reduces the symptoms of lipedema significantly.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipectomy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult