Physiotherapy and rehabilitation applications in lipedema management: A literature review.

Esmer M., Schingale F. J., Unal D., Yazici M., Guzel N. A.

Lymphology, vol.53, no.2, pp.88-95, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Name: Lymphology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.88-95
  • Kütahya Health Sciences University Affiliated: Yes


Lipedema is a chronic and progressive disease of adipose tissue caused by abnormal fat accumulation in subcutaneous tissue. Although there is no known cure for lipedema, possible complications can be prevented with conservative and surgical treatments. One of the conservative treatment options is physiotherapy and rehabilitation (PR). When the literature is examined, few studies focusing on the efficacy of PR were found for this patient group. The purpose of this review is to provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of PR applications by compiling existing studies. A bibliographic PubMed search was performed for published studies regarding PR in lipedema management in June 2019 including the last 58 years (1951-2019). Articles were chosen by reading the abstracts and subsequently data were analyzed by reading the entire text through full-text resources. A total of 15 studies met inclusion criteria. Results document how lipedema patients are benefited by PR and the effectiveness of different types of PR programs. The current review also showed that complex decongestive physiotherapy, gait training, hydrotherapy, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise training each have value in the management of lipedema. The effects of PR for the treatment of lipedema are variable among studies, although overall PR seems to be effective in lipedema management. Although physiotherapy applications have a potentially important role in the management of lipedema, they should be used in combination with other treatment modalities. More studies with higher quality are needed to fully demonstrate the effect and efficacy of PR in lipedema patients.