Diagnostic and therapeutic treatment methods for intrathoracic extrapulmonary lipomas

Niger J Clin Pract. 2020 May;23(5):626-630. doi: 10.4103/njcp.njcp_629_18.


Background: Lipomas are rarely seen tumors of adipose tissue that are benign in character. Although mostly located to the subcutaneous region, specifically in the upper back, neck, and shoulder, they may also occur in thoracic cavity.

Aim: They aim of the study was to analyse clinical features and outcome of treatment of intrathoracic pleural lipomas.

Materials and method: We retrospectively evaluated the clinicopathological records of seven patients with intrathoracic lipomas who had undergone surgery between 2005 and 2017. We made analyses in terms of age, gender, admission complaints, lesion locations and dimensions, diagnostic techniques, operative procedures, histopathological features, and prognosis.

Results: Four women and three men with a mean age 62.7 (range, 48-75 years) were included. They had chest pain (n = 2), effort dyspnea (n = 1) as the admission symptom, whereas four patients were asymptomatic, whose lesions were detected on chest radiography on an incidental basis. The radiological features of the tumors were well-demarcated, homogenous lesions with fat density. Tumors of all cases were excised, which were located on the right side in two patients and left in five. We used video-assisted thoracoscopy in two patients, single-port video-assisted thoracoscopy in three patients, thoracotomy in two patients. All lesions were of parietal pleural origin and were located intrathoracically. They had a range of size between 4 and 10 cm, with an average of 6.7 cm. All cases were operated with complete resection. At a mean follow-up duration of 4.7 years no recurrence was noted.

Conclusion: Intrathoracic lipomas are rare, benignly behaving tumors. As it may prove difficult to differentiate them from malignant lesions and they may grow in an invasive growth pattern, surgery should be pursued in all patients for both diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: Intrathoracic; lipoma; surgery; video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoma / pathology
  • Lipoma / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / methods*
  • Thoracoscopy / methods*
  • Thoracotomy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome