A study conducted by a team of leading German researchers analyzed 10 years of published lipedema studies and surveyed over 160 women who had multiple lymph-sparing liposuction procedures to manage lipedema, to determine the most common co-conditions. The study also examined the impact of surgical treatment on the progression of lipedema.
Present data shows the number and extent of co-conditions increases with advancing stage. The chronically progressive course of lipedema leads to a progressive tissue fibrosis. Therefore, the earliest possible diagnosis is critical for optimal long-term treatment.
Key Results / Findings
- Obesity, hypothyroidism, migraines, and depression were seen more in women with lipedema than other women.
- Overall, obesity was the most common co-condition at 37.6%. The higher the lipedema stage, the higher the patient’s body mass index (BMI).
- After multistage liposuction treatment and a 20-month follow-up, a significant reduction of BMI could be observed. This corresponds to a median percentage reduction of BMI of 8.7%. The percentage difference was significantly higher for stage 3 patients than for those with stage 1 and 2 lipedema.
- Surgical therapy was able to improve lipedema-associated symptoms including pain, tension sensation, bruising, leg circumference and quality of life.
- A reduction of menstrual disorders after liposuction has been reported. In addition, an improvement in menstrual irregularities was observed.
- Over 25% of lipedema sufferers also experience depression. To reduce psychosocial side effects patients should be given options for active lipedema management and strategies for accepting the condition and adapting lifestyle.
- A diagnosed migraine was reported in 23% of participants. The number of migraine attacks per month was significantly reduced after liposuction. Postoperatively, 67% reported an improvement in intensity or frequency of attacks, and 12.5% of all patients had no migraines at all after the operation.
- 19% of those affected reported suffering from lipedema- associated dermatoses requiring treatment before the operative intervention. In 90% of these patients, an improvement in the symptoms could be achieved by liposuction.
- 58% patients stated they needed fewer or no more sick days due to lipedema-related symptoms after the last liposuction operation.
- Quality of sex life improved significantly after liposuction. 99% of all patients included in the study would recommend the multi-stage liposuction.
- Women who had liposuction between 2009 and 2019 in a specialized clinic for lipedema surgery.
- 106 patients who underwent a total of 298 liposuction procedures (3 surgeries each on average) were included in this study.
- Patients received a questionnaire regarding the clinical history and changes of lipedema-associated symptoms and companion conditions after surgery.
- Patients received preoperative conservative therapy for at least 6 months. In order to protect the lymphatic system, surgery was carried out in “wet technique” and liposuction was performed using power-assisted (PAL) and water-jet-assisted systems (WAL).
Hypermobile EDS & Lipedema Comorbidities
There are other lipedema comorbidities we often see in women. For example, hypermobile EDS is often seen. People with hEDS may have:
- joint hypermobility
- loose, unstable joints that dislocate easily
- joint pain and clicking joints
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- skin that bruises easily
- digestive problems, such as heartburn and constipation
- dizziness and an increased heart rate after standing up
- problems with internal organs, such as mitral valve problems or organ prolapse
- problems with bladder control (urinary incontinence)
Currently, there are no tests to confirm whether someone has hEDS, but Dr. Wright demonstrates telling signs in a Lipedema patient below.
If you suspect, you or a loved one may have lipedema, please contact us. Early detection and treatment are critical to help those struggling with lipedema and companion conditions to live their best lives.
Ghods M, Georgiou I, Schmidt J, Kruppa P. Disease progression and comorbidities in lipedema patients: A 10-year retrospective analysis. Dermatologic Therapy. 2020;e14534. https://doi.org/10.1111/dtch.14534
 Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism’s deficiency of thyroid hormones can disrupt such things as heart rate, body temperature, and all aspects of metabolism. Hypothyroidism is most prevalent in older women.