Lipedema is a condition of the fat cells in the adipose tissue of the hips and thighs. It usually occurs in women with a slender trunk but with cellulite accumulation in one or both legs.

To the naked eye, it is visible by the disproportion of the hip with respect to the rest of the body. Occasionally it can also affect the area between the ankles and knees. In this case, it is known as Cuff sign.

It is a disease that must be diagnosed by qualified medical personnel. Through various analyses, the evolution, symptoms, history and degree of the disease will be investigated.

According to several studies, approximately 16% of the female population suffers from this pathology. It can be mistaken for obesity, which is why it is so important to pay attention to the symptoms.

Lipedema can be classified according to the degree of involvement:

  • Grade I: although the skin appears soft, some fat nodules may be palpable.
  • Grade II: in this case, the skin surface is hard and irregular. Multiple nodules are present.
  • Grade III: the skin is deformed and nodules of various sizes can be palpated.

Symptoms of lipedema

Although there is some unknown about the disease and many physicians may confuse it, there are clear symptoms from grade II onwards:

  • Growth of the affected area, especially in the lower extremities.
  • Feeling of swelling or inflammation
  • Disproportionate to the rest of the body
  • Diets and sports do not work
  • Pain when pinching the affected area and increased tenderness
  • Tough skin to the touch
  • Tendency to bruise

Causes of lipedema

It is still unclear what causes lipedema. According to several lines of research, hormonal and genetic components could be behind the origin. The disease develops precisely when hormonal changes occur, such as during adolescence, pregnancy or menopause.

These components appear to activate the disease but it is believed that it may be related to intestinal or macrobiotic problems.

Treatment of lipedema

There is no standard treatment for lipedema. The discomfort can be alleviated and it is even possible to reduce the volume of fat with lymphatic compression stockings and swimming pool sports.

However, these are conservative measures. To reverse the problem, medical intervention or lipomesoplasty is necessary.

The WAL (Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction) technique, or water-assisted decompression liposuction, involves the removal of fat, which reduces pressure, restores the aesthetic shape of the affected area and relieves pain.

On the other hand, lipomesoplasty consists of the application of medication in the subcutaneous tissue by means of ultrasound. This reduces the volume of the affected area and, therefore, the weight, improves circulation and the skin. This treatment must be accompanied by an anti-inflammatory diet called Keto-detox.

Commitment to quality

This text on lipedema has been written by professional editors and reviewed by Sisneo’s medical-aesthetic team. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.

At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.

Among others, we have used the following references:

  • Poojari A, Dev K, Rabiee A. «Lipedema: Insights into Morphology, Pathophysiology, and Challenges» en Biomedicines. 2022 Nov 30;10(12):3081. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10123081.