Where Does Lipedema Fat Accumulate

For decades, Lipedema has been a poorly understood condition that continues to impact the lives of millions of women. Since symptoms were first identified, Lipedema has been believed to only affect the legs and buttocks area for women. While these areas are most common to be impacted by Lipedema, other areas of the body can also develop Lipedema fat. Recent literature has shed light on how Lipedema is not believed to be a bilateral condition that targets the lower body disproportionately but can still develop anywhere on the body. Here is where Lipedema fat can accumulate on the body:

Head to Shoulders

Your face and neckline areas are the rarest locations for Lipedema fat accumulation. Research studies have found that Lipedema develops across three separate stages where changes in the skin and Lipedema fat tissue are seen. Most women from this study did not experience Lipedema fat accumulation around the cranium or posterior neck. More common areas that did see Lipedema fat accumulation are below the shoulder line or anterior chest where approximately 37% of the women in the study showed Lipedema fat. Anterior simply means that the area can be seen when facing the front of the body when standing straight.

Upper Body

Another area that does not see as much Lipedema fat accumulation on average is the upper body including the torso, abdomen, and arms. However, over 90% of women will see Lipedema fat accumulation around the inner elbow area, anterior forearm, and anterior arm. Similar reports were also included for the ribcage and abdomen in the study. The area where Lipedema fat accumulation was seen the least was the hand with only 22% of the women experiencing Lipedema fat there.

Lower Body

Perhaps widely known, Lipedema fat more often accumulates around the lower body including the thighs and buttocks, but the term Lipedema ankles isn’t rare either. Women will often see the majority of their Lipedema fat in these areas. However, they can also commonly find Lipedema fat accumulation around the inner knee and backside of their leg. The area where Lipedema fat is least likely to develop is the backside of the foot with only 6% of women experiencing this, and as rare as it sounds, Lipedema ankles are also possible.


Lipedema ankles

Google Scholar Link
Karen L. Herbst, Liza Mirkovskaya, Aditi Bharhagava, Yamini Chava, Charisse Hanne T. Te, “Lipedema Fat and Signs and Symptoms of Illness, Increase with Advancing Stage”, 2015, iMed Pub Journals, Archives of Medicine

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Meet Dr. Thomas Wright, medical director of Laser Lipo and Vein Center. Dr. Wright is a board certified Phlebologist and cosmetic surgery specialist, with over 15 years of practicing experience. A graduate of the University of Missouri Columbia medical program, Dr. Wright was one of the first two hundred surgeons to become a diplomate in Phlebology.

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