Lipedema patients suffer not only from visual stigma but also reduction in their quality of life through pain and performance loss in daily life. In clinical practice, it is still difficult to reliably diagnose the disease. This study aims to provide further insights into the characteristics of lipedema patients of all stages and provide a baseline prior to surgery for a surgical treatment evaluation by means of patient-reported outcome measures.
Methods: Patients completed a lipedema-specific questionnaire containing 50 items, the World Health Organization Quality of Life BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9). The data were analyzed using SPSS statistics 27. Patients who had already received liposuction were excluded.
Results: Five hundred and eleven patients were included, of whom 337 completed the PHQ9 and 333 completed the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaires. The general characteristics of lipedema patients, especially the daily symptoms, are described. Previous observations, such as the frequent occurrence of hypothyroidism and the low rate of type 2 diabetes, were confirmed. Over 49% suffer from severe impairments in their jobs, whereby the disease shows a familial accumulation. The results of the WHOQOL-BREF and the PHQ-9 suggest a high level of mental stress.
Discussion: As surgical intervention in lipedema patients is gaining traction, its effects should be well-documented. Therefore, a comprehensive baseline needs to be established prior to surgical treatment. The psychological components are just as important as the inclusion of daily impairments.
Keywords: QoL; depression; lipedema; liposuction; obesity; restrictions in daily life.