Angiolipoma is a tumor made of fat and muscle tissue. It is a lipoma that grows under the skin.
A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells that typically invade the surrounding areas of the body or organ.
However, when this abnormal growth does not invade nearby tissues or grow disproportionately, we’re dealing with a benign tumor (a non-cancerous growth). Such is the case of lipomas.
A Lipoma is a tender growth made of fat and blood vessels. Angiolipoma is a rare type of Lipoma that usually grows on the forearms, but it can also appear on other areas of the body, such as the head or the neck.
This condition affects young adults in their 20’s or early 30’s. And even though this tumor can grow on both males and females, the incidence of Angiolipoma is higher in men.
When the tumor grows under the skin, the condition gets classified as noninfiltrating or infiltrating.
- Non-infiltrating angiolipoma: it is the most common type of Angiolipoma, the tumor does not grow or infiltrate deeper than just below the skin surface, but still causes pain or discomfort
- Infiltrating angiolipoma: while it is a relatively uncommon occurrence, they are more difficult to remove because they infiltrate deep into the soft tissue. However, this type of Angiolipoma does not cause pain.
Even though Angiolipomas, more often than not, develops under the skin; in some rare cases, it can affect either an organ or bones.
From those odd occurrences, we can identify two other types of Angiolipomas:
- Gastric angiolipoma: this lipoma grows on the stomach and causes gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia. It’s so rare that medical experts only know of four reported cases of this condition.
- Spinal angiolipoma: it is a lipoma that appears on thoracic epidural space of the spine. It grows outside the spinal cord lining of the upper and lower back.
Medical experts and several researchers are still trying to figure out the exact cause of this condition. So far nobody knows for sure.
However, some theorize that Angiolipoma might run in families as if the cause of this growth were to be some yet to identify genetic factor.
Other experts think Angiolipoma is merely a manifestation of another pre-existing condition or a series of inherited diseases.
Some medical experts work with the hypothesis of certain drugs and medications possibly inducing the development of these lipomas. The most notable being:
- Indinavir (Crixivan): it is an antiviral drug, a Protease inhibitor to be more specific. Doctors use this medication to treat AIDS/HIV
- Systemic corticosteroids (if used for a prolonged period): drugs that mimic the effect of naturally occurring corticosteroids. One well-known example of this medication is Prednisone.
Angiolipoma usually features non-cancerous growths under the epidermis of the skin.
As explained above this tumor is merely a lipoma, a growth made of fatty tissues and blood vessels. The main signs of their presence are bumps in the skin and a painful sensation.
People can perceive multiple subcutaneous tumors, mainly on the forearm. But in a few cases, such growths can appear on the neck, the chest, the back, and the lower legs.
In some cases, these lipomas can not only grow both inside and outside the flesh, arising on the skin surface.
However, several persons may suffer from Angiolipoma and yet display no symptom at all besides the visible mass or bump
Doctors may provide with an adequate analysis through a physical exam.
By feeling and pressing the bump or lumps, they can determine, through the growth’s softness and movements, whether or not they are lipomas.
Some medical experts make a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s medical history.
But if healthcare providers need to be sure about the presence and nature of the condition, they can make use of other highly efficient means to diagnose a patient, such as:
- Radiographic Studies
- Capsule Endoscopy
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Tissue Biopsy
Usually, patients who suffer from Angiolipoma don’t require surgery as it is a relatively harmless condition.
But if the growth keeps causing pain, or the patient wants to get rid of the lipomas for aesthetic purposes, they can get these tumors removed through a surgical procedure.
Doctors acknowledge surgery as the primary treatment to get rid of Angiolipomas. In some cases, one of those procedures turns out to be liposuction (the removal excess fat deposits).
Still, the best-known way to treat this condition is surgically removing the growth itself. However, it is rare or highly uncommon to see patients displaying complications after the procedure.