Currently, the best way to diagnose lipedema is performing manual inspection by a trained physician in conjunction with patient history. Upon palpation of the fat the healthcare professional may feel texture to the fat, such as 'grains of sand or rice', tiny pebbles or pea-like nodules and/or large strands of nodules. Other physical characteristics may be based on the 1940 Wold criteria.
Patient History and Physical Exam
Dr Karen Herbst's physical exam www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7NvrgLLlXY
Dutch Guidelines www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27075680
See additional resources
FUTURE Diagnostic tools
The Lipedema Foundation aims to put data behind the diagnosis and is supporting many endeavours to definitely diagnose liepdema.
There's an App for that!
App that compares images of one's legs to a database of diagnosed legs
Leg shape assessment, along the lines of the "Like a Glove" brand jeans fitter to determine "big legs"
Soft Tissue Imaging
Airport scanners (no really, some of us light up as we walk through them!)
Lymph Vessel Imaging
Lymphoscintigraphy - Currently used to rule out lymphedema
Imaging of Fat Content
DEXA (1, 2)
Changes in Biochemical / Bio-mechanical Properties
Assessing blood capillary fragility
Water Volume Measurements
References (in development)
1 Dietzel R, Reisshauer A, Jahr S, Calafiore D, Armbrecht G., Body Composition in lipoedema of the legs using dual-energy X-ray absorptiomety: a case-control study. Brit J Derm. 173: 594–596; 2015
2 “Fat Distribution and Glucose Metabolism in Individuals with and without Williams Syndrome” (NCT01864304)