The VUMC Reporter recently highlighted a "unique collaboration" between three VUMC departments that is changing the diagnosis and treatment of lipedema.
Lipedema is a disorder of the lymphatic system, which plays a major role in removing excess water (edema) from body tissues. Too much fluid in the heart, for example, can lead to heart failure.
Lipedema “had been characterized in the 1940s, but people were relying on external measurements, which made it a very difficult diagnosis,” says Rachelle Crescenzi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences. With imaging, “we can look inside the body and show that this really is different from obesity.”
Dr. Crescenzi, along with Aaron Aday, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Paula Donahue, PT, DPT, MBA, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, are joining their departments together to develop new testing and diagnostic methods along with treatments for patients.
The hope is that identifying what causes lipedema will lead to better ways to treat or prevent it.