Lipoma arborescens

Singapore Med J. 2014 Jan;55(1):5-10; quiz 11. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2014003.


Lipoma arborescens is a chronic, slowly progressive intra-articular lesion characterised by villous lipomatous proliferation of the synovium, usually involving the suprapatellar pouch of the knee joint. It is an uncommon cause of intra-articular masses that presents as slowly progressive painless swelling of the joint, which persists for many years and is accompanied by intermittent effusions. We highlight this condition to raise awareness of its clinical spectrum and imaging features, so that early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be given, and misinterpretation of this condition as other more complex intra-articular masses is avoided. This pictorial essay aims to provide a brief yet comprehensive review of the clinical features, distribution, morphological types and imaging characteristics of lipoma arborescens, including its common differential diagnoses and management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Knee Joint / pathology*
  • Lipoma / diagnosis*
  • Lipomatosis / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology*
  • Young Adult