Author: Dr Harriet Cheng, Dermatology Registrar, Green Lane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, 2013.

What is an angiolipoma?

Angiolipomas are benign subcutaneous tumours composed of fat and vessels. Approximately 5% of cases are familial.

Clinical presentation of angiolipomas

Angiolipomas are usually found in young adults. There may be no symptoms, or the lesion may be tender. Clinically, the lesion is a soft skin-coloured plaque or nodule resembling lipoma. The most common site is the forearms followed by the trunk and upper arms. Multiple lesions are frequently found.

How is the diagnosis made?

Angiolipomas may be difficult to distinguish from other fatty tumours such as lipoma on clinical examination. Angiolipoma can be distinguished histologically, following biopsy, by the finding of vessels (particularly if thrombosed) within a proliferation of mature fat cells. See DermNet's page on the histopathology of angiolipoma.

Treatment of angiolipoma

Surgery is curative, but not essential as these lesions are benign. Angiolipomas tend to be well-circumscribed and easily removed.

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