Benign fatty tumors: classification, clinical course, imaging appearance, and treatment

Skeletal Radiol. 2006 Oct;35(10):719-33. doi: 10.1007/s00256-006-0189-y. Epub 2006 Aug 23.


Lipoma is the most common soft-tissue tumor, with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations and imaging appearances. Several subtypes are described, ranging from lesions entirely composed of mature adipose tissue to tumors intimately associated with nonadipose tissue, to those composed of brown fat. The imaging appearance of these fatty masses is frequently sufficiently characteristic to allow a specific diagnosis. However, in other cases, although a specific diagnosis is not achievable, a meaningful limited differential diagnosis can be established. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the spectrum of benign fatty tumors highlighting the current classification system, clinical presentation and behavior, spectrum of imaging appearances, and treatment. The imaging review emphasizes computed tomography (CT) scanning and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, differentiating radiologic features.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lipoma / classification
  • Lipoma / diagnosis
  • Lipoma / therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasms, Adipose Tissue / classification*
  • Neoplasms, Adipose Tissue / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Adipose Tissue / therapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed