How do I recognise lipedema?

Many affected women suffer from lipedema for years before a diagnosis is even made. Especially in the early stages, lipedema is often not recognised as such and is mistaken for simple being overweight or obese. Unfortunately, such a misdiagnosis can result in patients feeling misunderstood, thereby losing confidence in doctors and failing to receive early treatment.

To help you take the first step on the path to a symptom-free life, the LIPOCURA® team has developed various tests for conducting an initial self-diagnosis. Our experienced team of doctors can help you establish a well-founded diagnosis with subsequent individual treatment planning (conservative treatment or liposuction).

Arrange consultation


Pain and tenderness

Do you feel pain when you touch your arms or legs, or do you suffer from pressure sensitivity in these areas?

Sports resistance

Are you not losing weight in the affected areas of your body despite a healthy diet and exercise?

Feelings of tension

Do you often feel tension and coldness in your legs?

Disproportionate distribution

Are your arms and legs noticeably stronger in relation to your midsection?

Haematoma tendency

Do you tend to bruise for no apparent reason?

Continue to slim hands and feet

Are your hands and feet relatively slim despite fat accumulation on your arms and legs?

Do these lipedema symptoms apply to me?

Lipedema is a serious condition that causes physical and psychological damage. Symptoms include sensitivity to pressure, pain and bruises. Of course, disproportionately thick arms and legs, ‘saddlebags’ on the thighs and accompanying cellulite are also perceived as annoying. In advanced stages, chafing, inflammation or lymphoedema are also well-known consequences. For the patients, this often results in psychological stress, accompanied by social isolation.

If the following lipedema symptoms apply to you, there is a high probability that you also have the disease.

Recognise lipedema!

Lipedema self-test

Do you suffer from lipedema? Find out!

to the self-test

How can I test if I have lipedema? The pinch test

The biggest difference between lipedema and ordinary obesity is that lipedema causes pain and the distribution of fat is disproportionate and uncontrolled on the body. In addition, lipedema fat is often sensitive to pressure, promotes bruising and becomes hard and knotty in advanced stages.

A simple pinch test can often tell you whether you have lipedema. To do this, pinch the skin lightly in the areas of the body that may be affected. If you experience disproportionate pain, you may suspect lipedema. In this case, the next step is to get a medical diagnosis.

Lipedema or overweight? BMI Calculator & Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Normal or excessive weight can be calculated using the body mass index formulas.

The body mass index (BMI) is calculated by dividing the body weight in kilograms by the height in metres squared (kg/m²). The World Health Organisation (WHO) distinguishes between six categories:

  • Underweight: <18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight: ≥ 25
  • Preadiposity: 25 – 29.9
  • Obesity grade I: 30 – 34.9
  • Obesity grade II: 35 – 39.9
  • Obesity grade III: ≥ 40

Since lipedema does not follow the usual distribution of fat, it is usually not possible to make any meaningful measurements using the BMI. However, a calculation is often used as a supportive initial diagnosis. In lipedema patients, the quotient is often 30 or higher, which would correspond to grade I obesity. However, if only individual areas of the body (arms or legs) are affected while other areas remain slim, it is a clear sign of lipedema.

A more meaningful way to measure lipedema is to calculate the waist to hip ratio, as afflicted people often have a slim midsection and increased fatty tissue from the hips up.

The Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) is the ratio of the waist circumference to the hip circumference in centimetres (WHR = waist circumference/hip circumference). The World Health Organisation (WHO) distinguishes between three categories:

Low ≤ 0.80
Medium 0.81 – 0.85
High ≥ 0.86

The decisive factor for the diagnosis of lipedema is ultimately the examination by an experienced specialist. Nevertheless, the WHR measurement gives patients a good initial indication, since the fat distribution is also calculated; therefore, it can be a meaningful indication for a pathological fat distribution disorder.

Lipedema pain: MLS (Munich Lipedema Score)

The Munich Lipedema Score (MLS) takes all lipedema symptoms into account in the diagnosis, including medical history, symptoms and morphology. Using these criteria, a maximum score of 40 can be achieved (= advanced lipedema).

Dr Dominik von Lukowicz, MD of LIPOCURA® presented the Munich Lipedema Score for the first time at the major annual conference of the German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (DGPRÄC) in Hamburg. The MLS was developed by experienced plastic surgeons Dr von Lukowicz, Dr Lossagk, Dr Wagner and Dr Bauer to better verify and classify lipedema.

Are you uncertain whether you have lipedema?

Together with your doctor, you can take the MLS test right


How can I tell the difference between lipedema and lymphoedema?

Lipedema and lymphoedema are both conditions of the tissues that can cause swelling. Although they sound similar and are often confused, they have different causes and symptoms.

Lipedema and lymphoedema can also occur together, as so-called lipo-lymphoedema. Lipedema that goes untreated for a long time can result in the development of lymphoedema, which is why the earliest possible diagnosis and treatment tailored to the individual patient is necessary.

Lipedema Lymphoedema
Emergence Formation of abnormal fatty tissue that is irregularly distributed. Disorder in the lymphatic system - fluid build-up in the tissues
Symptoms Occurs symmetrically, pain, tenderness, heaviness in the legs, tendency to bruise, ... Swelling is often stronger in one part of the body, skin is tense and hard, skin changes possible in advanced stages
Time of occurrence Begins at puberty, pregnancy or menopause. Worsening over time possible. After previous illness, infection or surgery, especially if lymph nodes have been removed.
Side effects Restrictions in mobility/axial malposition and joint damage as well as inflammation of the skin flaps possible. Repeated skin infections and thickening.
More topics

You might also be interested in

Always there for you

Our locations

LIPOCURA® Frankfurt - Eterno Health


Eterno, Bockenheimer Landstr. 33-35/5. OG

60325 Frankfurt am Main


+49 69 2475309-0

Opening hours

  • Monday: 12:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm