This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in


Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Lipoedema is a syndrome characterized by bilateral, symmetric lower extremity enlargement due to subcutaneous deposition of fat

  • involvement typically extends from the buttocks to the ankles
    • the feet are much less involved or spared entirely
  • affects women almost exclusively
    • not a rare condition; up to 11% of women or postpubertal girls may be affected to some degree
    • typically developing insidiously after puberty and progressing gradually
  • condition bears some clinical resemblance to lymphedema and is frequently misdiagnosed as such
    • however, in contrast to lipoedema the swelling of lymphedema is due to accumulation of protein-rich interstitial fluid within the skin and subcutaneous tissue caused by lymphatic dysfunction.

Treatment options for lipoedema are limited:

  • dieting, diuretics, leg elevation, and compression appear to be of minimal benefit
    • long-term low-level compression therapy is unlikely to reverse lipoedema it may help prevent its worsening and progression to lipolymph-edema
  • attempts to treat invasively via lipectomy or liposuction are not recommended because they risk causing mechanical damage to the lymphatics

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Annotations allow you to add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation. E.g. a website or number. This information will always show when you visit this page.

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.