Pleural lipoma: a non-surgical lesion?

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2012 Jun;14(6):735-8. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivs052. Epub 2012 Feb 26.


Pleural lipomas are benign tumours that develop at the expense of adipose tissues, and they never evolve towards liposarcoma. Located usually at the mediastinal, bronchial and pulmonary levels, a pleural situation is extremely rare. Chest X-rays usually detect them and computed tomography scans confirm the diagnosis. As complications occur, a wait-and-see policy is common. We report our pleural lipoma surgical exeresis experience since 1999. We have operated on five cases of pleural lipomas among nearly 1800 cases of thoracic exeresis: three male and two female patients, without obesity (in all cases, body mass index (BMI) < 28). The mean age was 54.6 years (range 35-72 years). Four patients were electively operated and one in emergency, three with video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) procedure and two with open chest surgery, without recurrent cases. Advancements in VATS have greatly reduced the morbidity rate of these benign tumours especially if exeresis is performed early on a small, uncomplicated adhesion-free tumour. On the other hand, the operation may be deleterious, complicated by the presence of a large lipoma or in a complicating situation. In our opinion, we should revise the wait-and-see policy when facing these lesions considering their evolutionary potential. We should advise VATS in pleural lipomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Lipoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Lipoma / surgery
  • Lipoma / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pleural Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted* / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Watchful Waiting*