Close
New

Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.

 

Dermatologic Manifestations of Lipomas

  • Author: Robert A Moraru, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
 
Updated: Nov 12, 2014
 

Background

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.

Next

Pathophysiology

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.[1]

Previous
Next

Epidemiology

Frequency

International

In one study in a Scandinavian population, 43% of benign mesenchymal tumors were lipomas.

Mortality/Morbidity

No fatalities are reported with cutaneous lipomas. Mild tenderness occasionally is associated with the tumors. Angiolipomas often are tender.

Sex

Solitary lipomas are seen predominately in women. Multiple lipomas occur more frequently in men.

Age

Lipomas can occur at any age; however, they usually arise in early adulthood and are rare in children and infants.

Previous
 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Robert A Moraru, MD Staff Physician, Department of Dermatology, St Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center

Robert A Moraru, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD Herman Beerman Professor of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Director, Penn Cutaneous Pathology Services, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society of Dermatopathology, Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Received royalty from Lippincott Williams Wilkins for textbook editor.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Janet Fairley, MD Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology, University of Iowa, Roy J and Lucille A Carver College of Medicine

Janet Fairley, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Federation for Medical Research, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

References
  1. Tallini G, Dal Cin P, Rhoden KJ, et al. Expression of HMGI-C and HMGI(Y) in ordinary lipoma and atypical lipomatous tumors: immunohistochemical reactivity correlates with karyotypic alterations. Am J Pathol. 1997 Jul. 151(1):37-43. [Medline].

  2. Economides NG, Liddell HT. Benign symmetric lipomatosis (Madelung's disease). South Med J. 1986 Aug. 79(8):1023-5. [Medline].

  3. Gomes da Silva R, Detoffol Bragança R, Ribeiro Costa C, Torres de Melo L, Weiss Telles R, Costa Silva L. Multiple symmetric lipomatosis. J Cutan Med Surg. 2011 Jul-Aug. 15(4):230-5. [Medline].

  4. Ardeleanu V, Chicos S, Georgescu C, Tutunaru D. Multiple benign symmetric lipomatosis -- a differential diagnosis of obesity. Chirurgia (Bucur). 2013 Jul-Aug. 108(4):580-3. [Medline].

  5. Bonatus TJ, Alexander AH. Dercum's disease (adiposis dolorosa). A case report and review of the literature. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1986 Apr. 251-3. [Medline].

  6. Brodovsky S, Westreich M, Leibowitz A, Schwartz Y. Adiposis dolorosa (Dercum's disease): 10-year follow-up. Ann Plast Surg. 1994 Dec. 33(6):664-8. [Medline].

  7. Hansson E, Svensson H, Stenram U, Brorson H. Histology of adipose tissue inflammation in Dercum's disease, obesity and normal weight controls: a case control study. J Inflamm (Lond). 2011 Sep 28. 8(1):24. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  8. Labuzek K, Liber S, Suchy D, Okopieå BA. A successful case of pain management using metformin in a patient with adiposis dolorosa. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jun. 51(6):517-24. [Medline].

  9. Miyakura T, Irisawa R, Miyamoto M, Iwaya K, Yamamoto T, Tsuboi R. An atypical case of atypical lipomatous tumor. Am J Dermatopathol. 2008 Dec. 30(6):590-2. [Medline].

  10. Wolfe SW, Bansal M, Healey JH, Ghelman B. Computed tomographic evaluation of fatty neoplasms of the extremities. A clinical, radiographic, and histologic review of cases. Orthopedics. 1989 Oct. 12(10):1351-8. [Medline].

  11. Kuwano Y, Ishizaki K, Watanabe R, Nanko H. Efficacy of diagnostic ultrasonography of lipomas, epidermal cysts, and ganglions. Arch Dermatol. 2009 Jul. 145(7):761-4. [Medline].

  12. Sachdeva MP, Goldblum JR, Rubin BP, Billings SD. Low-fat and fat-free pleomorphic lipomas: a diagnostic challenge. Am J Dermatopathol. 2009 Jul. 31(5):423-6. [Medline].

  13. Juhlin L. Long-standing pain relief of adiposis dolorosa (Dercum's disease) after intravenous infusion of lidocaine. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986 Aug. 15(2 Pt 2):383-5. [Medline].

  14. Reggiani M, Errani A, Staffa M, Schianchi S. Is EMLA effective in Dercum's disease?. Acta Derm Venereol. 1996 Mar. 76(2):170-1. [Medline].

  15. Gonciarz Z, Mazur W, Hartleb J, et al. Interferon alfa-2b induced long-term relief of pain in two patients with adiposis dolorosa and chronic hepatitis C. J Hepatol. 1997 Dec. 27(6):1141. [Medline].

  16. Matarasso A, Pfeifer TM. Mesotherapy for body contouring. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005 Apr 15. 115(5):1420-4. [Medline].

  17. Rohrich RJ. Mesotherapy: what is it? Does it work?. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005 Apr 15. 115(5):1425. [Medline].

  18. Rotunda AM, Ablon G, Kolodney MS. Lipomas treated with subcutaneous deoxycholate injections. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Dec. 53(6):973-8. [Medline].

  19. Couto RA, Mulliken JB, Padwa BL, Hassanein AH, Rogers GF, Kulungowski AM, et al. Facial infiltrating lipomatosis: expression of angiogenic and vasculogenic factors. J Craniofac Surg. 2011 Nov. 22(6):2405-8. [Medline].

  20. Berntorp E, Berntorp K, Brorson H, Frick K. Liposuction in Dercum's disease: impact on haemostatic factors associated with cardiovascular disease and insulin sensitivity. J Intern Med. 1998 Mar. 243(3):197-201. [Medline].

  21. DeFranzo AJ, Hall JH Jr, Herring SM. Adiposis dolorosa (Dercum's disease): liposuction as an effective form of treatment. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1990 Feb. 85(2):289-92. [Medline].

  22. Rubenstein R, Roenigk HH Jr, Garden JM, Goldberg NS, Pinski JB. Liposuction for lipomas. J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1985 Nov. 11(11):1070-4. [Medline].

  23. Bassetto F, Scarpa C, De Stefano F, Busetto L. Surgical treatment of multiple symmetric lipomatosis with ultrasound-assisted liposuction. Ann Plast Surg. 2014 Nov. 73(5):559-62. [Medline].

Previous
Next
 
A 43-year-old white man with a 3- to 4-year history of a slow-growing asymptomatic growth on his right shoulder.
A 43-year-old man with a slow-growing asymptomatic growth.
Surgical excision of a 6-cm lipoma on the back of a 54-year-old man using the squeeze technique.
 
 
 
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.