Lipedema: an overview of its clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of the disproportional fatty deposition syndrome - systematic review

Clin Obes. 2012 Jun;2(3-4):86-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-8111.2012.00045.x. Epub 2012 Aug 3.


Lipedema is a disproportionate, symmetrical fatty swelling characterized by pain and bruising existing almost exclusively among women. We undertook a systematic review of the available literature about lipedema, given the lack of knowledge and little evidence about this disorder especially among obesity experts. Diagnosis of lipedema is usually based on clinical features. Symmetrical edema in the lower limbs with fatty deposits located to hips and thighs usually appears at puberty and often affects several members of the same family. Main disorders considered for differential diagnosis are lymphedema, obesity, lipohypertrophy and phlebedema. Treatment protocols comprise conservative (decongestive lymphatic therapy) and surgical (liposuction) approaches. Early diagnosis and treatment are mandatory for this disorder otherwise gradual enlargement of fatty deposition causes impaired mobility and further comorbidities like arthrosis and lymphatic insufficiency.

Keywords: Decongestive lymphatic therapy; lipedema; liposuction; obesity.