Acquired lipodystrophy is a general term for the types of lipodystrophy that are not genetic, yet are acquired at some point or in middle age. They don’t have a direct genetic reason, but some factors might be considered. Acquired lipodystrophies can be brought about by medications, autoimmunity or for reasons not known (idiopathic).


Acquired lipodystrophy may have the following types:

  • Acquired generalized lipodystrophy (Lawrence syndrome)
  • Acquired partial lipodystrophy (Barraquer-Simons syndrome)
  • Localized lipodystrophy
  • High active antiretroviral induced lipodystrophy


Acquired lipodystrophy may have various subtypes. The symptoms may depend upon the specific type of acquired lipodystrophy and the extent of the disorder. The specific symptoms can change among individuals with the corresponding subtype.

Acquired generalized lipodystrophy (Lawrence syndrome)

People with this kind of lipodystrophy experience the loss of subcutaneous fat from the face, neck, and arms and legs.

Acquired partial lipodystrophy (Barraquer-Simons syndrome)

This kind of lipodystrophy starts at a young age. Fat distribution is normal as an infant and during early childhood. After some time, fat stretches out to the arms, neck, chest and the upper abdomen.

High active antiretroviral therapyinduced lipodystrophy

This type of lipodystrophy occurs in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after getting antiretroviral treatment known as HIV-1 protease inhibitor-containing HAART. Affected individuals lose subcutaneous fat from the arms, legs, and face. Some may have abundant fat in the face, neck, upper back, and abdomen.

Localized lipodystrophy

This type of lipodystrophy is characterized by subcutaneous fat deposits in a certain part of the body. It may be due to injections of medicines such as insulin. Affected individuals have lost subcutaneous fat in the affected region that presents as a dimple or pit with the overlying skin unaffected.


The diagnosis relies on the signs and symptoms, the medical history, physical exam and various tests.

While the diagnosis of lipodystrophy is basically clinical, tests may be used to help in the diagnosis or to exclude other medical conditions.


The treatment of acquired lipodystrophies is geared toward the particular symptoms that are evident in the affected person.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Joubert Syndrome (JS) is a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME) is a type of epilepsy that typically [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Jumpers knee, also known as patellar tendinitis, is a condition characterized [...]