DOI: 10.1097/gox.0000000000005436 ISSN: 2169-7574

Lipedema Reduction Surgery Improves Pain, Mobility, Physical Function, and Quality of Life: Case Series Report

Thomas Wright, Megan Babula, Jaime Schwartz, Corbin Wright, Noah Danesh, Karen Herbst
  • Surgery
  • General Medicine


Lipedema is a chronic inflammatory subcutaneous adipose-rich connective tissue disease affecting millions of women worldwide. Disproportionate fat accumulation on the extremities characterized by heaviness, tenderness, and swelling can affect function, mobility, and quality of life. Treatments include conservative measures and lipedema reduction surgery (LRS). Here, we report lipedema comorbidities and surgical techniques, outcomes measures, and complications after LRS.


This is a single outpatient clinic retrospective chart review case series of comorbidities and complications in 189 women with lipedema. Bioelectrical impedance analyses, knee kinematics, gait, physical examinations, Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System, and RAND Short Form-36 questionnaires collected before and after LRS were analyzed for 66 of the 189 women. Hemoglobin levels were measured by transdermal hemoglobin monitor (Masimo noninvasive hemoglobin monitoring; Irvine, Calif.).


Common comorbidities in 189 women were hypermobile joints (50.5%), spider/varicose veins (48.6/24.5%), arthritis (29.1%), and hypothyroidism (25.9%). The most common complication in 5.5% of these women after LRS was lightheadedness with a 2-g reduction or more in hemoglobin. After conservative measures and LRS in 66 women, significant improvements (P ≤ 0.0009) were found for: (1) knee flexion (10 degrees); (2) gait; (3) Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System T-score (16%); (4) mobility questions: gait velocity, rising from a chair, stair ascent; (5) RAND Short Form-36 scores: physical functioning, energy/fatigue, emotional well-being, social function, general health; (6) and Bioelectrical impedance analyses total and segmental body fat mass.


LRS provided significant improvements to women with lipedema using direct physical measurements and validated outcome measures, comparable to those seen after total knee replacement.

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