Lipomas of cervical area - clinical and pathological considerations

Vol. 59 No. 2, 2018


Marius Octavian Pricop, Nicolae Constantin Balica, Marioara Poenaru, Smaranda Laura Gotia, Flavia Baderca, Pompiliu Horatiu Petrescu, Horatiu Constantin Urechescu

Introduction: Cervical lipomas are tumors that may present as painless masses with slow growth. This type of tumors is usually asymptomatic until they reach a large size. They can be solitary or multiple. When multiple and symmetrical distributed around neck area, the lesions can be classified as Madelung s disease, a rare condition that affects mostly Mediterranean men. Our objective was to describe the symptoms, cytological and histological aspects, diagnostic problems and treatment strategies of the large size lipomas and to highlights that the differential diagnosis between common lipoma of cervical area and Madelung s disease can be established only on clinical grounds, with major implications in the treatment options. Materials and Methods: The study was retrospective and analyzed archived material. We selected four cases of cervical lipomas, each with its particularities, treated in the Clinic of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Timisoara City Hospital, Romania. For all the cases, we performed a fine-needle aspiration with consequent cytological exam. The microscopic evaluation of Papanicolaou-stained slides established the diagnosis of lipomas. The surgically removed specimens were sent to the Department of Pathology. The excised specimens were prepared with routine histological technique. Results: The cases presented one or more lateral cervical swelling of the neck, inserted among major vascular-nervous elements, becoming life-threatening conditions. All the cases studied had the same cytological and histopathological features consistent with lipoma, fibrolipoma or angiolipoma, but, instead of this, clinical aspects differed from case to case. On clinical grounds, two patients were considered as Madelung s diseases. Conclusions: Despite of the same histopathological aspects, lateral cervical lipomas can be classified in varies categories with different treatment strategies and prognostic factors. The correct diagnosis of Madelung s disease is important in order to add other treatment options to the surgery or liposuction as avoiding alcohol or medication for metabolic disorders.

Corresponding author: Flavia Baderca, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:; Marioara Poenaru, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

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