Lipedema, A Rare Disease
Shin BW, Sim YJ, Jeong HI, Kim GC; 2011
Synopsis: This article examines a 60-year old patient who was initially misdiagnosed with lymphedema, but displayed aytpical symptoms and was ultimately diagnosed with lipedema instead.
Abstract: Lipedema is a chronic disease of lipid metabolism that results in the symmetrical impairment of fatty tissue distribution and storage combined with the hyperplasia of individual fat cells. Lipedema occurs almost exclusively in women and is usually associated with a family history and characteristic features. It can be diagnosed based on clinical history and physical examination. Lipedema is usually symmetrical, but spares the feet, is often painful to palpation, and is negative for Stemmers sign. Additionally, lipedema patients can present with microangiopathies and lipomas. The well-known therapies for lipedema include complex decongestive therapy, pneumatic compression, and diet modifications. However, whether these treatments help reduce swelling is debatable. We encountered a case of lipedema that was initially misdiagnosed as lymphedema. The patients clinical features and history were different from those typical of lymphedema, prompting a diagnosis of lipedema and she was treated with a complex decongestive therapy program.