Pre-surgical Skincare for Lipedema and Lymphedema

By September 14, 2023 June 23rd, 2024 No Comments

Today’s paper is by Dr. Campisi and colleagues in Italy. The paper is called: Inclusion of targeted skin products in the pre-surgical treatment regimen of peripheral lymphedema and lipedema. It was published in the peer-reviewed journal Lymphology in 2019. Because there are some common skin changes that can occur in both lymphedema and lipedema, the authors wanted to examine if a two-week targeted skin care program would be beneficial for these two diagnoses.

Skin changes that are seen with lymphedema include skin thickening, dryness, redness, and fibrosis. The skin conditions that are associated with lipedema may include dryness, a mattress-like appearance, and skin thickening. Additionally, lymphedema may develop in the more advanced stages of lipedema, causing further skin conditions to occur. The authors wanted to see if improvements in skin conditions prior to surgery would positively impact the results of the surgery.

Who are the participants?

150 patients with lymphedema or lipedema were randomly assigned to one of three groups:  two different treatment groups and one control group. The composition of each group was very similar with respect to age, gender, and diagnosis of lymphedema or lipedema.  In the two intervention groups, one group used the topical Lipolipase CreamⓇ while the other took LinfolipaseⓇ tablets. The skin condition of each participant was evaluated by one of the researchers who is a dermatologist at the beginning and the conclusion of the study, with the results compared between the two intervention groups as well as with the control group. It was found that there were no differences between groups regarding the baseline skin characteristics.

Why Skin Care is Important

Skincare is an important part of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), a traditional conservative treatment for both lymphedema and lipedema. Skin treatments can improve skin health and hygiene, prevent skin breakdown and infection, and improve the outcomes of treatment by facilitating better lymph drainage in the body areas affected. All participants in this study went through 2 weeks of traditional CDT, but only the 2 intervention groups also had the additional treatment with the 2 different skin products.  

What are the results?

Interestingly, both products (the cream and the tablets) showed similar greater improvements in skin condition for participants with lymphedema and lipedema compared to controls. This included increased softness, and reduced redness, thickness and dimpling of the skin. Neither treatment group had decreased dryness compared to controls. The researchers would like to more carefully compare a control group using a topical cream as compared to the Lipolipase CreamⓇ in the future as the use of some kind of topical by all participants may have impacted the differences in dryness between groups.


In short, the authors believe that the results show that the use of the special skin care products in this study have a potential for being of benefit for lymphedema and lipedema.  We are excited that this topic is being studied and look forward to continued research on skincare and lipedema. 

For more related content, be sure to check out Lipedema Simplified’s Flash Briefings, our daily mini-podcast with tips, tools, helpful research, and other resources pertaining to lipedema.

~ Leslyn Keith, OTD, CLT-LANA
Board President, Director of Research | The Lipedema Project

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