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Lymphoedema or lipoedema? These two conditions can look very similar, but there are important differences. Lipoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition typically involving an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks, whereas Lymphoedema is swelling under the skin caused by a build-up of fluid in the lymphatic system – the network of vessels that drains excess fluid from body tissue. The skin of someone with lymphoedema will pit or indent when you press it, but this will not happen with lipoedema.