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Lipodystrophy (also called ‘lipoatrophy') usually infers loss of fat. The fat layer lies underneath the skin i.e. it is subcutaneous. Loss of subcutaneous fat leads to increased definition of the structures underneath (muscle and bone) and presents as one or more depressions in the skin. If all the underlying structures are affected, it is called ‘panatrophy'.

Lipodystrophy may be congenital (i.e. the tendency to lose fat is present at birth) or acquired (the loss of fat occurs later in life). Lipodystrophy can affect all of the body (generalised lipodystrophy) or just parts of the body (partial lipodystrophy).

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