Thick Legs – Not Always Lipedema

Thick Legs – Not Always Lipedema

Reich-Schupke S, Altmeyer P, Stucker M; 2012

Synopsis: This article differentiates between lipedema, which is a fairly uncommon disease, and “thick legs” or obesity. The piece includes an overview of lipedema, including its diagnostic history, diagnostic crieteria, treatment options, and prognosis.

Abstract: Due to its increased presence in the press and on television, the diagnosis of lipedema is on the way to becoming a trendy diagnosis for those with thick legs. Despite this, one must recognize that lipedema is a very rare disease. It is characterized by disproportional obesity of the extremities, especially in the region of the hip and the legs, hematoma development after minimal trauma, and increased pressure-induced or spontaneous pain. Aids for making the correct diagnosis are (duplex) sonography, the waist-hip index or the waist-height index and lymphoscintigraphy. Important differential diagnoses are constitutional variability of the legs, lipohypertrophy in obesity, edema in immobility, edema in chronic venous insufficiency and rheumatic diseases.

The symptom-based therapy of lipedema consists of conservative (compression, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise) and surgical treatments (liposuction). Until now there is no curative therapy. Obesity is an important risk factor for the severity and prognosis of lipedema. Further studies for a better understanding of the pathogenesis of lipedema and in the end possible curative treatments are urgently needed.

PubMed Link: No PubMed link available
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APA Citation: Reich-Schupke, S., Altmeyer, P., & Stcker, M. (2012). Thick legs – not always lipedema. JDDG: Journal Der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 11(3), 225-233.

AMA Citation: Reich-Schupke S, Altmeyer P, Stcker M. Thick legs – not always lipedema. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft. 2012;11(3):225-233. doi:10.1111/ddg.12024.

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