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Diabetes Metab. 2013 Oct;39(5):445-53. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2013.05.006. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Prevalence and risk factors of lipohypertrophy in insulin-injecting patients with diabetes.

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Novartis Pharma, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:



Our objective was to assess the frequency of lipohypertrophy (LH) and its relationship to site rotation, needle reuse, glucose variability, hypoglycaemia and use of insulin.


The study included 430 outpatients injecting insulin who filled out a wide-ranging questionnaire regarding their injection technique. Then, a diabetes nurse examined their injection sites for the presence of LH.


Nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of patients had LH. There was a strong relationship between the presence of LH and non-rotation of sites, with correct rotation technique having the strongest protective value against LH. Of the patients who correctly rotated sites, only 5% had LH while, of the patients with LH, 98% either did not rotate sites or rotated incorrectly. Also, 39.1% of patients with LH had unexplained hypoglycaemia and 49.1% had glycaemic variability compared with only 5.9% and 6.5%, respectively, in those without LH. LH was also related to needle reuse, with risk increasing significantly when needles were used > 5 times. Total daily insulin doses for patients with and without LH averaged 56 and 41 IU/day, respectively. This 15 IU difference equates to a total annual cost to the Spanish healthcare system of > €122 million. This was also the first study in which the use of ultrasound allowed the description of an "echo signature" for LH.


Correct injection site rotation appears to be the critical factor in preventing LH, which is associated with reduced glucose variability, hypoglycaemia, insulin consumption and costs.


Consommation d’insuline; Costs; Coûts; Injection d’insuline; Injection rotation; Insulin consumption; Insulin injection; Lipodystrophie (LH); Lipodystrophy; Lipohypertrophy; Rotation d’injection

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