By Gary M. White, MD

Adiposis Dolorosa (AD) or Dercum's disease is the combination of generalised overweight or obesity and painful adipose tissue. It is a syndrome that continues to be defined and classified.


Recently, the following classification has been proposed [Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2012 Apr 30;7:23]

Form Comments
Generalised Diffuse Diffusely widespread painful adipose tissue without clear lipomas
Generalised Nodular General pain in adipose tissue and intense pain in and around multiple lipomas
Localised Nodular Pain in and around multiple lipomas
Juxtaarticular Solitary deposits of excess fat for example at the medial aspect of the knee


Referral to a chronic pain specialist may be in order. The following treatments have had some success: liposuction, analgesics, lidocaine, methotrexate and infliximab, interferon α-2b, corticosteroids, calcium-channel modulators and rapid cycling hypobaric pressure.


Nice picture of Type 1 AD in an adult woman. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2012 Apr 30;7:23


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