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What Is an Angiolipoma?

By Andy Josiah
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Angiolipoma is a type of benign tumor or skin lesion that contains blood vessels, which are usually capillaries, and tissue. It is an angioma, which is a type of growth formed out of newly created blood vessels. Angiolipoma is also known as lipoma cavernosum or telangiectatic lipoma.

The category that angiolipoma belongs to, lipoma, is a benign tumor made of a combination of fat deposits referred to as adipose tissue. It is considered the most common form of soft tissue growth. Unlike most lipomas, however, angiolipoma is painful.

Angiolipoma is a subcutaneous nodule, which means that the tumor is located under the skin. Thus, this condition is like superficial subcutaneous lipoma, which is the most common form of lipoma, and angiolipoleiomyoma, which is characterized by smooth muscle cells as one of its major components. Additionally, it has a yellow color, just like chondroid lipoma, which most commonly occurs on the legs of women. Other common types of lipoma include corpus callosum lipoma, which tend to grow larger than their normal size, and hibernoma, which consists of brown adipose tissue.

Several medical researchers split the condition into two types. The non-infiltrating kind, which occurs far more often than the other, is usually found in young people in their adulthood. This subcategory comprises soft and painful tumors. The infiltrating angiolipomas are so named because of their ability to spread to surrounding tissues or other structures of the body such as bones, nerves and muscles. The infiltrating kind is much rarer, though.

Lipomas in general mostly affect people roughly between the ages of 20 and 60. With angiolipoma, it tends to appear as multiple tumors. In some cases, this can happen as early as puberty. The size of the tumors is usually less than 0.8 inches (2 centimeters).

The cause of this condition is still unknown. Some people, however, have suggested that it could be a hereditary condition. Also, studies have suggested that certain injuries may be able to induce the development of lipomas. As for the chances of angiolipoma in general becoming malignant or developing into cancer, some medical researchers believe in the possibility while others do not.

Lipomas in general are deemed unnecessary for removal since they are benign tumors and are thus not dangerous. Angiolipomas, however, cause pain, so they typically necessitate treatment. The physician surgically removes the lesions if the patient has the non-infiltrating kind. Treatment for infiltrating angiolipomas usually involves resection. This means that the physician removes part of the tumor to reduce the pain that the patient experiences.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Pearl58 — On Feb 04, 2016

I have had the same issue and I knew there was something going on because the lumps kept multiplying and becoming painful but my doctor thought I had panniculitis. I finally went to a dermatologist, and my diagnosis was confirmed that I have angiolipomas. I can feel them in my intestine, on top of my kidneys, and on my arms and legs. The pain is awful and no one will do surgery because they just return.

I am planning to try cool sculpturing to see if it will kill some of the fat cells, but I have been told that they usually will not do it on people unless they are within 30 pounds of their ideal weight. I am not doing it for cosmetic reasons but for pain relief. I hope I can find someone that will treatment me because I am far from my ideal weight but weigh below 230. Wish me luck.

By anon973635 — On Oct 13, 2014

When I was about 5 months old, I had an angiolipoma on my back which had attached itself to some of my organs, I had surgery to get it removed but they were not able to remove the whole thing because of where it was attached to. For years, I wasn't really having any symptoms but in the past few weeks I am getting unbearable back pains and I am feeling tired all of the time. Could my tumor be coming back?

By anon950918 — On May 13, 2014

I have over a thousand of them. I've had multiple surgeries and they are done because I grow excessive scar tissue and they grow back bigger most times. I've got them up and down my arms and legs, around my organs, especially around my kidneys and bowels and new ones in my scrotum Grr. My chest is covered in them. My arms and hands go numb because the tumors have grown from my fingertips to my neck and up in my skull.

I had 39 of the worst ones removed in my last surgery and within a year they all had grown back and a lot more have grown. I had an argument with one of my old doctors because he was hell bent on saying they couldn't cause pain. Well I know he's wrong because I'm in massive pain and my whole body cramps up bad.

Cold weather or exerting myself, even if I get excited or mad, causes my muscles to cramp up because the tumors pull and put pressure on the muscles. They're growing so fast and everywhere. My doctors have decided there will be no more surgeries at all unless one totally stops one of my organs working.

So I deal with bowel issues and kidney pain all day. I spend multiple hours a day in the restroom trying to pee. After I eat I can tell you where the food is, because of them pushing on my bowels so bad. I hope something I've said will help you understand what you might be going through. It’s time to enjoy life day by day and work through each new problem as it comes. I am very excited to find this page today and see I'm not all alone.

By anon326225 — On Mar 20, 2013

I've had several removed. They will generally return near the same spot, but always a different spot. Try to get them removed asap.

By anon324169 — On Mar 08, 2013

An angiolipoma can return if it is not removed completely. Even if the extraction is complete

and there is no tumor left there is still a chance of the tumor returning.

By ZipLine — On Feb 01, 2013

@simrin-- An sngiolipoma in the extremities is usually removed if the patient requests for it but when it's in an organ like the kidney, removing it might do more harm than good. I think that's why doctors avoid surgical removal unless the lipoma is malignant.

As for the symptoms, they don't signify anything in terms of the type of lipoma. A malignant tumor might not cause any symptoms and one that is harmless might.

I personally had had multiple non-infiltrating angiolipomas removed because I couldn't stand the pain. It was unbearable.

By SteamLouis — On Jan 31, 2013

I have renal angiolipoma (angiolipoma in kidney). My doctors don't see a reason to remove it although it is giving me symptoms. It causes pain in the middle of my back and fatigue as well.

I find it odd how something that causes pain can be harmless and be left alone. Of course, I don't want to have surgery if I don't have to but I don't know how I'm going to manage the symptoms for years to come.

By SarahGen — On Jan 31, 2013

What are the chances of an angiolipoma returning in the same spot after surgical removal?

I have one on my leg and I can't decide if I should have it removed or not. It is not extremely painful lipoma but aches on some days.

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