Lipedema vs Lymphedema

While lipedema always affects both legs symmetrically (bilateral appearance), primary lymphedema usually affects one leg only. If both legs are involved in primary lymphedema the swelling appears asymmetric. The feet are not involved in lipedema; the symmetrical distribution of fat is located between the hips and the ankles. In contrast, the feet in lymphedema are involved in the swelling.

Lipedema is a chronically progressive, symmetrical accumulation of fat in the subcutaneous tissue occurring almost exclusively in women. Primarily the lower extremities are affected, but lipedema may occur in combination with the upper extremities as well. Lipedema is characterized by symmetric enlargement of the limbs, combined with tenderness, pain and easy bruising.

Lipedema vs Lymphedema


Lipedema is a chronic, progressive accumulation of fat in the tissue just below the skin that almost exclusively affects women. Generally only the lower extremities are affected (hips, buttocks, legs); however, Lipedema can occur in the arms as well. Visually, Lipedema can best be described as symmetric enlargement of the limbs, combined with tenderness and easy bruising. Patients that suffer from Lipedema have soft rubber-like skin that may include small fatty lumps (nodules) within the tissues in later stages. Pressure with the thumb does not leave an indentation (no pitting) in Lipedemea. The underlying cause for the development of Lipedema is associated with hormonal disorders and heredity.


Lymphedma tends to occur after puberty (but can occur at any age) with foot and ankle swelling. It can affect both males and females. While Lipedema always affects both legs symmetrically (bilateral appearance), primary Lymphedema usually affects only one leg. The feet in Lymphedema are involved in the swelling, and a diagnostic indicator known as the Stemmer sign is positive. Pitting of the skin is invariably present. The cause for the onset of Lymphedema are malformations of the lymphatic system.

Lipedema vs Lymphedema Surgeon

Marcia Byrd M.D. is an internationally acclaimed surgeon.  While she is very knowledgeable on the Lymphedema disease, she has decided to focus strictly on Lipedema surgery. She has developed a surgical technique for treating Lipedema that has been hugely successful in relieving the pain and removing the lipedema fat.

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