Dermatologic Manifestations of Lipomas
- Author: Robert A Moraru, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD more...
Lipomas are benign tumors composed of mature fat cells. They are the most common benign mesenchymal tumor. Lipomas are found in the subcutaneous tissues and, less commonly, in internal organs. Lipomas usually present with little difficulty in diagnosis or morbidity. Lipomas typically develop as discrete rubbery masses in the subcutaneous tissues of the trunk and proximal extremity. Lipomas usually are a few centimeters in size and can be removed by surgical excision or liposuction. Also see the Medscape Reference general surgery article Lipomas.
Lipomas differ biochemically from normal fat by demonstrating increased levels of lipoprotein lipase and by the presence of a larger number of precursor cells.
Approximately 60% of solitary cutaneous lipomas display clonal alterations. The most common alteration involves a breakpoint on bands 12q13-15. Karyotype aberrations also have been noted on arms 6p and 13q. Multiple lipomas do not display these alterations.
In one study in a Scandinavian population, 43% of benign mesenchymal tumors were lipomas.
No fatalities are reported with cutaneous lipomas. Mild tenderness occasionally is associated with the tumors. Angiolipomas often are tender.
Solitary lipomas are seen predominately in women. Multiple lipomas occur more frequently in men.
Lipomas can occur at any age; however, they usually arise in early adulthood and are rare in children and infants.
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