Year 2023, Volume 52, Issue 3

Effects of Physiotherapy in the treatment of lipedema. A systematic review

Vilas-Martínez J, González-González Y, Justo-Cousiño LA, Alonso-Calvete A, Da Cuña-Carrera I.


Background: lipoedema is a disease in which there is a pathological and excessive fat deposition in the subcutaneous cellular tissue. This pathology is chronic and progressive occurring bilaterally and symmetrically. The proposed treatment is oriented to the signs and symptoms presented by each patient and should be approached in a multidisciplinary manner. Objective: to analyse the existing literature on the role of physiotherapy in the treatment of lipoedema.Material and method: A search was carried out in January 2022 on existing publications in Pub-Med, Medline, CINAHL, PEDro, WOS and Scopus. Inclusion criteria were established for articles to be in English, and exclusion criteria were those that did not fit the objective, repeated articles and systematic reviews and metaanalyses. Results: we evaluated the methodological quality of the 8 articles and analysed the composition and characteristics of the intervention in each of them. The most repeated therapies are complex decongestive therapy and the intermittent pneumatic compression technique. In all the studies where they have been used, positive results have been found. Conclusions: even with the little existing scientific evidence on the exact treatment of the disease, in most of the physiotherapy treatments applied, significant improvements were achieved in terms of volume, pain, functionality and other variables analysed. Therefore, further research is necessary to increase the level of evidence in this field and to be able to determine a really specific and effective treatment.

Keywords: lipoedema, Physiotherapy, therapeutic exercise, rehabilitation.