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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Madelung disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Benign symmetrical lipomatosis
  • Familial symmetric lipomatosis
  • Launois-Bensaude syndrome
  • Madelung's disease
  • Multiple symmetric lipomatosis
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What causes Madelung disease?

The exact underlying cause of Madelung disease remains unknown, but several theories have been proposed. Several studies have reported mutations in mitochondrial DNA on muscle biopsy of some affected individuals.[1] The condition may also relate to another type of defect in an enzyme, or a change in the surface of cells, that prevents the breakdown of fat.[2] The body's inability to properly metabolize fat in affected individuals suggests to some scientists that Madelung disease may be an endocrine disorder. Alcohol consumption may concurrently play a role in any of these potential causes of the condition.[2][3] Because there have been reports of familial cases of Madelung disease, it may be inherited in at least some cases; however, the mode of inheritance has not been determined.[4]
Last updated: 6/28/2013

  1. Sia KJ, Tang IP, Tan TY. Multiple symmetrical lipomatosis: case report and literature review. J Laryngol Otol. July 2012; 126(7):756-758.
  2. Ramos S, Pinheiro S, Diogo C, Cabral L, Cruzeiro C. Madelung Disease. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 2009;
  3. Ramos S, Pinheiro S, Diogo C, Cabral L, Cruzeiro C. Madelung disease: a not-so-rare disorder. Ann. Plast. Surg. January 2010; 64(1):122-124.
  4. Madelung's Disease. NORD. April 1, 2005;