Lymphat Res Biol. 2022 Jun 8. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2022.0010. Online ahead of print.
Background: Lipedema of lower limbs is characterized by bilateral accumulations of excess adipose tissue starting from the ankle to the hips and buttocks. The studies with lymphoscintigraphy (LSC) and magnetic resonance (MR) lymphography show altered transport index and enlarged lymphatic vessels (LVs). Our studies aimed to investigate the superficial lymph flow, water accumulation, skin and subcutaneous tissue elasticity, and the possibility of using this information to diagnose lipedema. Methods and Results: Fifty patients with lipedema and 50 control subjects (women) were included. The Indocyanine Green (ICG) lymphography, LSC, skin water measurement, skin durometry, and deep tissue tonometry were done in all participants. ICG lymphography revealed: (1) Slower lymph flow in lipedema patients; after 3 minutes of feet movement in a horizontal position, the ICG-dyed lymph reached the upper calf level in 8% of lipedema patients compared with 56% in the control group (p ˂ 0.0001). (2) More than three LVs were noticed more often in lipedema patients. (3) The higher number of abnormal LV images at all limb levels and during each observation stage with a statistically significant number of foggy and dilated. (4) Statistically significant higher fluorescent intensity in all limb levels. Skin water concentration was higher in the feet in lipedema (p = 0.000189). Conclusion: Our studies have shown the differences in superficial lymph flow and water concentration between lipedema and normal limbs. Data proove the usefulness of ICG lymphography, skin water concentration and skin and subcutaneous tissue elasticity measurements in diagnosing lipedema.