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What is the definition of lipoedema?


Lipoedema-Syndrome is a chronic condition in women characterized by two main criteria:

1. Disproportionate increase in adipose tissue in the legs (sometimes in the arms)

plus

2. Pain or/and tender to touch skin in this adipose tissue.

This means: Adipose legs without any complaints cannot be diagnosed as lipoedema!


In addition to these major symptoms the vast majority of patients with lipoedema also suffer from:

  • Overweight and obesity (which is a chronic disease independent from lipoedema)
  • Reduced physical fitness
  • Mental issues like e.g., chronic stress syndrome, depression, or eating disorders
  • Lack of self-acceptance because of the current beauty ideal.

Comprehensive treatment of lipoedema should therefore take into account all those aspects which are not as immediately obvious as the observable changes and reported symptoms. Appropriate to this clinical complexity, an interdisciplinary and holistic therapeutic approach has to be provided. This should include physio- and movement therapy, compression therapy, psychosocial therapy, weight management, liposuction in selected cases, and self-management.