Brighton Plastic Surgery’s Associate Professor Ramin Shayan is part of a research group that has shared the latest findings into the diagnosis and treatment of lipoedema.

Alongside Dr Tara Karnezis of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, VIC, and eight other professionals, A/Prof Shayan is pleased to share his latest research paper, published online in November 2021.

What is lipoedema?

Lipoedema is a chronic disease in which excess fat develops and accumulates in the lower part of the body. In particular, it targets the buttocks, thighs, and calves. In some cases, it can also impact the upper arms.

This excessive fat growth is more than just a visual or cosmetic detriment – the size of the legs in patients can cause immense pain and discomfort in their everyday activities, and can also make it difficult to find clothing that fits. In short, lipoedema can inhibit daily activities, mobility, and quality of life.

Lipoedema is a poorly understood condition that mainly affects women.

“People with lipoedema can be identified by an excessive formation of painful, swollen, lumpy fatty tissue, most commonly on their legs and hips, and sometimes on their arms,” says A/Prof Shayan.

“The condition gives the body an exaggerated bottom-heavy, disproportionate shape, which can make movements as simple as walking very difficult, due to the excessive amount of fat tissue on the legs. It can, in turn, lead to other health issues and has a massive destructive impact on ankle, hip and knee joints.”

What has the new research found?

This new research has uncovered a stem cell in lipoedema and a gene that causes an excess growth of fat.

Unlike those who do not possess these stem cells, patients with lipoedema fat cells experience fat growth at a rapid rate, and cells are unrestricted in their growth.

As such, the research supports that lipoedema is in fact a medical condition, rather than obesity.

Science supports that those suffering from lipoedema cannot change the appearance of their fat simply with improved diet and increased exercise.

The next steps are to confirm lab finding and then proceed to testing potential drugs in animals. Upon successful treatment, this can then advance to human clinical trials.

A/Prof Ramin Shayan

About Associate Professor Ramin Shayan

A/Prof Shayan is a plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgeon who joined the Brighton Plastic Surgery team in 2014.

He performs a wide range of plastic surgery procedures for both men and women.

Additionally, he provides liposuction and plastic surgery treatments in order to treat lipoedema.

He is one of the very few surgeons working in this field, and with a deep understanding of the condition, can help provide the right solution to restore mobility and help you feel more comfortable.


To learn more about lipoedema surgery, click here

To read the published study, click here