Dercum’s disease is a rare condition with an unknown cause and a sporadic appearence. Dercum’s disease was first described in the medical literature in 1882 by an American neurologist named Francis Xavier Dercum. It is also called adiposis dolorosa or fatty tissue rheumatism, because it affects the movement, it’s extremely painful and it implies the fat tissue (lipomas).

The multiple lipomas are situated subcutaneously and can compress the nearby nerves, causing severe pain. Being a disease dominated by pain, Dercum’s Disease is also causing depression and can have high rates of suicide. The overall pyshicall activity is afected and weight gain is common. The spectre of signs and symptoms is very complex.

Francis Xavier Dercum (August 10, 1856 – April 24, 1931) was an American physician who first described the disease Adiposis dolorosa (also known as Dercum’s disease). He was a noted neurologist and specialised in treating nervous and mental disorders. He treated President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and Ima Hogg for three years, beginning in 1918. Dercum pursued research endeavors. He studied the semicircular canals and, in 1879, he published an article on their morphology. In 1892, he was the first to publish a description of Adiposis dolorosa.

The condition is as 20 times more common in women, especially between the ages of 45-60. The diagnosis is not very hard, depending on the clinical findings: multiple lipomas, pain, depression, history. The microscopic exam with biopsy can establish that the multiple pseudotumours are indeed lipomas. After the diagnosis is done, the treatment options are very limited, unfortunately.