Angiolipoma

This article was last reviewed by Bibianna Purgina, MD FRCPC on July 14, 2018.

Quick facts:

  • Angiolipoma is a non-cancerous tumour made up of fat and small blood vessels.
  • These tumours can start anywhere although the most common location is just under the skin.
  • Angiolipomas usually look like a small lump under the skin and they may be painful.

Normal fat

The human body is made up of many different types of tissue. Fat is a special type of tissue that is found throughout the body. Fat is made up of large cells called adipocytes that look clear when viewed through a microscope.

What is an angiolipoma?

Angiolipomas are non-cancerous (benign) tumours made up of fat. Under the microscope, angiolipomas have lots of small blood vessels and some of these vessels contain small blood clots.

Since we have fat everywhere in our bodies, lipomas can occur just about anywhere. But most lipomas occur just under our skin where they feel like a soft lump. Angiolipomas can cause discomfort before they are removed.

Most lipomas are surrounded by a thin layer of tissue called a capsule, which keeps the tumour separated from the surrounding tissues. The capsule also makes these tumours relatively easy for your surgeon to remove.

The first diagnosis of a lipoma may be made after a small sample of tissue is removed in a procedure called a biopsy. Surgery can then be performed to remove the entire tumour.

Tumour size

This is the size of the tumour measured in centimeters. Tumour size will only be described in your report after the entire tumour has been removed. The tumour is usually measured in three dimensions but only the largest dimension is described in your report. For example, if the tumour measures 4.0 cm by 2.0 cm by 1.5 cm, your report will describe the tumour as being 4.0 cm.

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