Subcutaneous thigh fat necrosis as a result of tourniquet control during total knee arthroplasty

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2005 Sep;87(5):W11-3. doi: 10.1308/147870805x60761.


The use of a pneumatic tourniquet in total knee arthroplasty has been linked to complications caused by local tissue hypoxia. Fat necrosis is a rare condition that presents as an ill-defined subcutaneous lesion. The clinical features resemble that of a lipoma but histological appearance is characteristic. Ultrasound imaging is helpful in establishing the diagnosis both by sonographic appearance as well as in directing a biopsy if necessary. We present a case of encapsulated fat necrosis caused by the use of a pneumatic tourniquet during total knee arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee
  • Fat Necrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Fat Necrosis / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Thigh
  • Tourniquets / adverse effects*
  • Ultrasonography