Classification and external resources
ICD-10 E88.1
ICD-9 272.6
DiseasesDB 30066
eMedicine med/1307 med/3523
MeSH D008060

Lipodystrophy is a medical condition characterized by abnormal or degenerative conditions of the body's adipose tissue. ("Lipo" is Greek for "fat" and "dystrophy" is Greek for "abnormal or degenerative condition".) A more specific term, lipoatrophy is used when describing the loss of fat from one area (usually the face). This condition is also characterized by a lack of circulating leptin which may lead to osteosclerosis. It is extremely rare, with only 2000 people on the planet thought to have it.[1]



Lipodystrophy may be divided into the following types:[2]:495-7

  • Congential lipodystrophies
  • Acquired lipodystrophy
  • Acquired partial lipodystrophy (Barraquer-Simons syndrome)
  • Acquired generalized lipodystrophy
  • Centrifugal abdominal lipodystrophy (Lipodystrophia centrifugalis abdominalis infantilis)
  • Lipoatrophia annularis (Ferreira-Marques lipoatrophia)
  • Localized lipodystrophy
  • HIV-associated lipodystrophy

Insulin injections

A lipodystrophy can be a lump or small dent in the skin that forms when a person keeps performing injections in the same spot. These types of lipodystrophies are harmless. People who want to avoid them can do so by changing (rotating) the places where they perform injections. For people with diabetes, using purified insulins may also help.

One of the side-effects of lipodystrophy is the rejection of the injected medication, the slowing down of the absorption of the medication, or trauma that can cause bleeding that, in turn, will reject the medication. In any of these scenarios, the dosage of the medication, such as insulin for diabetics, becomes impossible to gauge correctly and the treatment of the disease for which the medication is administered is impaired thereby allowing the medical condition to worsen.

In some cases, rotation of the injection sites may not be enough to prevent lipodystrophy.

Antiretroviral drugs

Lipodystrophies can be a possible side effect of antiretroviral drugs. Other lipodystrophies manifest as lipid redistribution; with excess, or lack of, fat in various regions of the body. These include, but are not limited to, having sunken cheeks and/or "humps" on the back or back of the neck (also referred to as buffalo hump).[3]

Hereditary forms

Lipodystrophy can be caused by metabolic abnormalities due to genetic issues. These are often characterized by insulin resistance and are associated with Metabolic Syndrome.

See also

  • Keppen–Lubinsky Syndrome


  1. ^
  2. ^ James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0. 
  3. ^ Physical and Biochemical Changes in HIV Disease Eric S. Daar, M.D. MedicineNet, Accessed 22 September 2007

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • lipodystrophy — li·po·dystrophy …   English syllables

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