Lipodystrophy from Humalog & Levemir Injections

by Linda
(New Bern, N.C., U.S.A.)

QUESTION: I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a year ago. I am a 63-year old female.

After 10 months of Humalog and Levemir use the skin around the injection sites is sunken and the fat has disappeared.

My doctors say this is very rare and likely permanent, and should consult a plastic surgeon.

Is there a way to reverse and more importantly prevent lipodystrophy at injection sites? Would an insulin pump be a solution or would lipodystrophy occur at that site too?

ANSWER: Hi Madam,

It is very good that you are paying attention to the details, because the cooperation of the patient is something important during the treatment of diabetes.

With regards to the sunken skin, it is referred to the lipodystrophy caused by injections as you know. However, there is no way for you to prevent the development of this condition.

This is because with the age, the skin becomes vulnerable and not so pliable to traumas - injections in your case.

Besides this, I have to inform you that an insulin pump will not resolve your problem, because the lipodystropy will also appear in that site as the insulin pump is also based on frequent injections according to your body needs.

In addition, you have to know that the plastic surgery is the only way for treatment. It is true that you can find on the market certain creams, but none of them has shown to be effective.

So, if you want to remove those sunken fragments of your skin, you should speak with plastic surgeon as your doctor asked you.

However, please take note that the risk to re-appear is high, which means that you might re-see them even after the operation.

  • Although it might seem difficult to manage, if you are strong enough and have a strong willing, you can succeed in lowering your blood sugar levels as many others did.

    can follow the steps that others did to beat diabetes and to keep the injections away from you.

    Now, I want to ask you certain questions regarding your diabetes to understand better your medical condition:

    - how long have you been diagnosed with diabetes?

    - once your diagnose was confirmed, what therapy you were prescribed by your doctor?

    - Is insulin the first treatment or you have shifted 10 months ago to insulin shots? If yes, why this shift?

  • I need to have these information, because insulin is not a usual treatment for type 2 diabetics.

    When they are freshly diagnosed, doctors ask them to follow a strict diet and lifestyle (exercise, no alcohol, no smoking, etc.). If these changes do not work, then the doctors will prescribe medications (usually after 3 months).

    As you may see, all the info I asked you to provide will help you (and me) to understand why you need insulin when you might have other less painful or less risky alternatives to beat your type 2 diabetes.

    You can also consult with your doctor once you will be clear on what is going on with your health and diabetes.

    Hope you got my idea! Waiting forward to kindly have your info soon!


    by: Anonymous

    Dear Dr. Alba,

    I went to my doctor because I was experiencing extreme thirst and fatigue. A blood test revealed a blood sugar level of 788.

    I was in the ICU for 2 days to bring levels down and was prescribed Humalog Mix 75/25, Humalog as needes, Levemir at night and Byetta.

    I have moved to a different state, and another doctor is trying to reduce the number of shots with Victoza, Glimepiride tablets twice a day, Humalog if needed and Levemir at night.

    I know I need to be even more careful with diet choices to get rid of the need for insulin shots.

    Thank you so much for your reply.

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