What’s an angiolipoma?
An angiolipoma is a benign tumour that originates from a fat cell. In addition to fatty tissue, the tumour consists mainly of blood vessels and muscle cells. An angiolipoma is bordered by a delicate capsule of surrounding tissue.
Angiolipomas are characterised by slow growth. The size of an angiolipoma can vary greatly and ranges from a few centimetres to the size of a tennis ball. Often the angiolipomas are located directly under the skin and can be palpated well as soft or firm nodes. In contrast to lipomas, which mainly occur in older people over 50 years of age, young men are particularly often affected by angiolipomas.
Where do angiolipomas occur?
In principle, an angiolipoma can occur all over the body. Angiolipomas are mainly found on the extremities, i.e. on the arms and legs, with the thighs being particularly frequently affected. The tumour grows in the subcutaneous tissue and thus forms an easily palpable node under the skin.
The nodes are either single or multiple, and in most cases several angiolipomas occur simultaneously. Angiolipomas can also occur on the trunk (often on the abdomen or flank) and in the area of the face. More rarely, angiolipomas are found on the hands or feet.
An angiolipoma does not necessarily have to be treated. However, if the tumour causes discomfort or is perceived as disturbing by the person affected, there is the possibility of surgical removal. This involves cutting the angiolipoma out of the subcutaneous fatty tissue together with the capsule in which it is enclosed.
Prior to the procedure, the physician informs the patient about the procedure and possible risks of the operation. Afterwards, the preparations for the operation begin. This is a minor operation, which is usually performed quickly.
The doctor injects a local anaesthetic which numbs the skin locally. He then cuts the skin above the angiolipoma and pushes the tumour out. The wound is then sutured with a few stitches and a dressing is applied.
An angiolipoma must be removed if it causes pain or other discomfort. Due to the strong blood circulation of the angiolipoma, pain is experienced in most cases. In addition, the tumour can form in an unfavourable position and displace or constrict other structures.
As a result, a feeling of pressure or pain develops. If the angiolipoma grows near a nerve, a tingling sensation or numbness often occurs. Some patients also find the tumour aesthetically disturbing. In such cases it is advisable to remove the angiolipoma.
The prognosis of an angiolipoma is good. In most cases, the angiolipoma can be cut out of the skin without any problems and no complications arise. However, after removal, an angiolipoma often forms again in the same place.