Lipodermatosclerosis is diagnosed primarily through clinical examination, although a biopsy may also be performed. Dermatopathology, which involves analyzing skin tissue samples, is often utilized to identify histological changes specific to the disease. The extent and stage of the condition can be determined through these histopathological assessments. In the early phases of lipodermatosclerosis, areas of necrotic or dead tissue may be observed. Conversely, in late-stage lesions, significant changes can be detected in the dermis layer of the skin.
Lipodermatosclerosis is a condition characterized by the thickening and hardening of the skin in the lower legs. The exact causes of this venous disease are not entirely clear, but several factors have been associated with its development. Obesity has been identified as a potential contributing factor, as excess weight can increase the pressure in the leg veins, known as venous hypertension. Additionally, the presence of leaky valves in the leg veins, referred to as venous incompetence, has also been linked to lipodermatosclerosis. These factors, combined with other potential risk factors, can trigger the onset of the disease. It is worth noting that lipodermatosclerosis typically progresses through an acute phase initially and is followed by a chronic phase several months later.
Lipodermatosclerosis manifests in two main types: acute and chronic. Acute Lipodermatosclerosis typically occurs without any local injury or prior illness. It is characterized by a painful inflammation above the ankle, specifically on the inner leg. This form of lipodermatosclerosis closely resembles cellulitis, with the affected area appearing red, scaly, and tender. Acute Lipodermatosclerosis is more commonly found in middle-aged individuals.
On the other hand, chronic Lipodermatosclerosis develops gradually over time. The key symptoms associated with this type of lipodermatosclerosis include localized pain, thickening of the affected area, increased pigmentation, edema (swelling), the presence of varicose veins, and the development of leg ulcers. Unlike the acute form, chronic Lipodermatosclerosis tends to progress slowly, often leading to long-term complications if left untreated.