An intermuscular lipoma is a benign fatty tumor that develops between separate muscle groups. A lipoma is a localized tumor that does not metastasize to other areas. An intermuscular lipoma, the rarest of the fatty tumors, tends to develop in the anterior portion of the abdominal wall. A physical exam and x-rays diagnose the condition. Surgery, if needed, is a simple procedure that in most cases can remove the entire tumor.
A lipoma is a fatty tumor that can develop due to a genetic mutation or hereditary condition. In most cases, a lipoma never grows beyond 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter and does not affect surrounding tissues. Lipomas that appear in the subcutaneous layer are the most noticeable, as they create visible bumps underneath the skin. Intermuscular and intramuscular lipomas are within the body, and if they do not grow beyond their normal size, are unnoticeable. This type of lipoma develops between muscle groups while and intramuscular lipoma develops within a single muscle group.
Though an intermuscular lipoma can develop between any number of muscle groups, they mainly appear in the muscles located in the anterior portion of the abdominal wall, including the abdominal muscles. Due to the lipoma's relatively small size, it is nearly inpossible to detect by feeling the abdomen, especially if one is overweight. The symptoms of a large intermuscular lipoma include muscle aches and shooting pain; the latter occurs when the lipoma compresses a nerve. Though a lipoma is not life-threatening at this stage, consulting a physician is still necessary to rule out other conditions.
Diagnosing an intramuscular lipoma requires a physical exam, x-rays and blood tests; the last is necessary to confirm that there are no signs of malignant cancer. After diagnosis, the physician will discuss treatment options with the patient. If the lipoma is small and causes no discomfort, surgical removal is not necessary. In follow-up physicals, the physician will check the lipoma for signs of continued growth. If the lipoma does cause pain, surgical removal is the best option.
Resection of an intermuscular lipoma is a simple surgical procedure. Since the lipoma is located between muscle groups, cutting of muscle is not required. During surgery, surgeons push muscle out of the way before taking the tumor out as one solid piece. Because the surgical procedure is invasive, a brief hospital stay is necessary. Depending on what part of the body surgery was needed, one may need to rest for a few days after returning home.