What is lipedema?

In addition to the diagnosis, it is important for lipedema patients to receive sufficient information about the causes, various symptoms as well as the stages and types of lipedema. In addition to our Lipedema Test, a number of questions about liposuction are answered in the FAQ.

Lipocura München | Physio Lipödem-Patientin

Lipedema is a symmetrical proliferation of fat that usually occurs on the legs, buttocks and arms and usually only affects women. The distribution of fat in the body is disturbed by this disease and not, as long assumed, a consequence of overweight. In addition to water retention, massive tension pains occur, which in many cases are accompanied by increased bruising and pressure pains in the affected areas. The leg becomes evenly thick and heavy, usually from the hip to the ankle. Lipedema can also manifest on the upper arms, whereas the upper body, hands and feet usually remain slim.

Definition of the clinical picture:

According to the S1 guideline on lipedema, this is a chronic and progressive disease. Progressive means that the disease progresses and the clinical picture or the course of the disease worsens. Lipedema is a so-called fat distribution disorder. This results in a symmetrical distribution of fat on arms and legs, while the trunk initially remains slim. This disproportionate distribution of body fat cannot be influenced by sport or nutrition and must be differentiated from obesity. Lipedema is caused by the proliferation of subcutaneous fatty tissue in the arms and legs. The subcutis connects the upper skin layers (dermis and epidermis) with fascia, tendons and bones. The subcutis consists of connective tissue and fatty tissue. Excess fat is stored and accumulated here. In lipedema patients, this fat increases disproportionately at the extremities. This can be explained by hypertrophy (abnormal growth of individual cells) and hyperplasia (proliferation of tissue) of the fat cells as well as by an increase in volume caused by water accumulation.

Lioedema is therefore caused by 2 factors:

  1. The proliferation of fat cells in the subcutis, forming firm, nodular structures
  2. Water retention in the fat cells caused by disturbance of capillary permeability of the blood vessels

Diagnosis: Classification of lipedema in lymphatic diseases:

There are other lymphatic diseases whose symptoms are similar to those of lipedema.

Differential diagnoses include lymphedema, phlebedema and secondary lymphedema (also called lipolymphedema). For more information on differential diagnosis, click here.

In many cases it takes up to ten years to diagnose lipedema. For you this means a long journey of suffering, on which you have tried to change your appearance with countless diets and sports. Many give up at some point and suffer from psychological problems that further limit their quality of life. When our patients finally learn that they suffer from lipedema, it is a shock, but the relief is also infinite.

What are the causes of lipedema?

Why this disease occurs has not yet been fully explained. It is certain that there is a genetic predisposition and a connection with hormonal changes. As a result, there is a change in the subcutaneous fatty tissue.

What are the symptoms of lipedema?

Depending on the stage of the disease and the type, the symptoms range from heaviness in the arms and legs to pressure sensitivity and severe pain.

Lipedema stages & types

The disease is divided into four stages and four types. Lipedema stage 1 does not cause symptoms as severe as lipedema stage 3 and the types of lipedema describe which areas of the body are affected and how severely.

Test Lipedema

We have put together questions for you to assess the presence of lipedema. We can only make a reliable diagnosis after an individual examination, which we will be happy to carry out for you at any time.

Treatment Options

In our treatment options section you will find information on conservative forms of therapy as well as liposuction.