Phlebologie 2018; 47(04): 188-198
DOI: 10.12687/phleb2421-4-2018
Originalarbeit – Original articles
Schattauer GmbH

Lipoedema – myths and facts Part 3

Artikel in mehreren Sprachen: deutsch | English
T. Bertsch
1  Földiklinik Hinterzarten – Europäisches Zentrum für Lymphologie
G. Erbacher
1  Földiklinik Hinterzarten – Europäisches Zentrum für Lymphologie
2  Dipl.-Psychologin, Psychologische Psychotherapeutin, Supervisorin (hsi)
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Eingereicht: 02. Mai 2018

Angenommen: 14. Mai 2018

22. August 2018 (online)


Lipedema is associated with numerous myths. In this short series we offer an overview of the myths of lipedema, and we throw a critical eye over popular statements concerning the disease; statements that found their way into scientific publications decades ago, and which have been accepted and repeated since then without criticism; statements which have become widely accepted facts for lipedema patients, and particularly for lipedema self-help groups. In the first part of this series we took a critical look at two popular myths about lipedema. We found that there is no scientific evidence for neither “Lipedema is a progressive disease”, nor “Lipedema negatively affects mental health”. In the second article about the myths of lipedema we focussed on the edema aspect, on the “edema in lipedema” and the subsequent therapeutic consequences – manual lymph drainage. We were also able to show that there is no scientific evidence for the popular statement: “lipedema is primarily an “edema problem”; manual lymph drainage is thus the essential standard therapy to be conducted regularly”. There is thus no basis for the prescription of long term regular manual lymph drainage with the aim of removing edema. In this, the third part of the series on familiar and often quoted “lipedema statements” we take a closer look at two other myths: 4: “lipedema makes you fat” and 5: “weight loss has no effect on lipedema”. For both statements there is neither a reasonable physiological or pathophysiological construct nor is there any scientific evidence in the literature. Furthermore both statements contradict our many years of daily clinical experience with lipedema patients to a high degree. It actually seems that the converse is true: Weight gain seems to be a decisive trigger for the development of lipedema, in patients with the right genetic disposition. Lipedema and obesity are two different diseases, but mostly they appear together. We see patients on almost a daily basis, who effectively lose weight after successful bariatric surgery as part of our obesity program, including in the limbs. Lipedema patients regularly experience considerable improvement in the pain symptoms typical for lipedema through sustained weight loss. These patients are often symptom-free, so that we can then say that the lipedema is in remission. In our fourth contribution to the series we will examine the significance of liposuction for lipedema, in order to then present a therapeutic concept in the last part of the series, that is not only based on scientific evidence, but should also contribute to a long-term and comprehensive improvement in the symptoms of lipedema patients.