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General Practice 2023

Lipomatosis: what é, types, symptoms and treatment

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Lipomatosis: what é, types, symptoms and treatment
Lipomatosis: what é, types, symptoms and treatment

Lipomatosis is a disease of unknown cause that causes the accumulation of various fat nodules throughout the body. This disease is also called multiple symmetric lipomatosis, Madelung's disease, or Launois-Bensaude adenolipomatosis.

Nodules caused by lipomatosis are known as "lipoma" and are small benign tumors made of fat cells, which accumulate mainly in the abdomen and back region. Very rarely, tumors can develop into malignant nodules of cancer and are more common in adult men aged between 30 and 60 years. Understand better what a lipoma is and how to identify it.

Main symptoms

The main symptom of lipomatosis is body deformity due to the accumulation of fat tumors, and the presence of:

  • Tingling and cramping in legs and arms;
  • Appearance of foot ulcers;
  • Difficulty moving or walking.

In some cases, and depending on the location of the tumors, lipomatosis can also cause heart palpitations, excessive sweating, sexual impotence, and difficulty in swallowing or breathing.

What causes lipomatosis

Despite not having a clear cause, lipomatosis seems to be mainly linked to excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption, and may also be related to diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes, macrocytic anemia, excess uric acid in the blood, acidosis renal tubular and polyneuropathy.

In addition, the disease can also be linked to genetic inheritance, with cases in which lipomatosis is repeated when there is a family history, being called multiple familial lipomatosis.

Types of lipomatosis

Lipomatosis is classified according to the body site affected by lipomas, such as:

  • Abdominal: when it reaches the abdomen region;
  • Epidural: when it affects the spine;
  • Mediastinal: when it affects the heart region and part of the airways;
  • Pancreatic: when it affects the pancreas;
  • Renal: when it affects the kidneys;
  • Diffuse: when it affects the whole body and causes an appearance similar to common obesity.

The diffuse form of the disease is more common in women, and does not normally affect deeper organs and tissues of the body.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of lipomatosis is mainly done through surgery to remove the fat nodules, in addition to using drugs and injections, as shown below:


It is mainly indicated when there are major aesthetic deformations or when lipomas make breathing and eating difficult, as it is very rare for lipomas to transform into malignant tumors.

Thus, lipomas are removed through conventional surgery or through liposuction, depending on the location of the tumor. In general, the rate of recurrence of tumors is low, and usually occurs only after 2 years of surgery.


In the simplest cases, drugs that stimulate the burning of fat from lipomas, such as steroid hormones, Salbutamol and Enoxaparin, can also be used, but it is common for tumors to reappear when the medication is discontinued. See more about Enoxaparin.


Injections are mainly used in small lipomas, and contain hormones and substances that help break down fat cells, reducing the size of tumors.

They are usually given every 3 to 8 weeks for several months, and tend to have as side effects mainly pain and bruising at the injection site.

Lifestyle changes

It is also important to remember that you should completely stop drinking and smoking to prevent the progression of the disease, and control your weight to reduce the risk of obesity-related complications such as heart disease and diabetes.

Possible complications

The main complication of lipomatosis is the aesthetic deformation of the body caused by lipomas. In addition, fat lumps can cause problems such as:

  • Compression of the airways and throat, causing difficulty in swallowing and breathing;
  • Change or weakening of the voice;
  • Decreased neck movements;
  • Swelling of the face and neck;
  • Chest pain;
  • Decrease in sensitivity;
  • Difficulty moving limbs;

In addition, in some cases there may also be the development of cancer in Organs respiratory organs, especially when there is a history of excessive use of alcohol or cigarettes.

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