Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
Print this page
Email this page
Small font size
Default font size
Increase font size
Home About us Current issue Archives Instructions Submission Subscribe Editorial Board Partners Contact e-Alerts Login 

   Table of Contents     
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 152-153
Intramuscular lipoma of tongue

Department of Pathology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication17-Sep-2011

How to cite this article:
Garg M, Aggarwal R, Sethi D, Gupta D, Sen R. Intramuscular lipoma of tongue. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 2011;4:152-3

How to cite this URL:
Garg M, Aggarwal R, Sethi D, Gupta D, Sen R. Intramuscular lipoma of tongue. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Aug 9];4:152-3. Available from:


An intramuscular lipoma or infiltrating lipoma is a slow growing painless lesion, typically found in the large muscles of the extremities, usually characterised by diffuse infiltration of the striated muscle fibres, but is exceedingly rare in the tongue. [1] A literature search reveals only few such cases, however, none have been reported from India. We hereby report a case of intramuscular lipoma of the tongue, describing the clinical and histopathological characteristics.

A 55- year-old, North Indian male, presented with a history of a swelling in the left lateral border of the tongue, with pain and difficulty in deglutition, since one-and-a-half years. A clinical examination revealed a sessile, nodular lesion, with the colour of normal mucosa, measuring approximately 1 cm [Figure 1]. The clinical diagnosis was suspicious of malignancy and an excisional biopsy was performed. On gross examination, the specimen was greyish white and irregular, measuring 0.7 × 0.5 × 0.4 cm. A microscopic examination revealed a hyperplastic stratified squamous epithelium covered soft tissue, comprising predominantly of smooth muscles encircling the lobules of the mature adipose soft tissue. There was no evidence of malignancy. No cellular atypia, necrosis, mitotic activity, vascularisation or lipoblastic proliferation was observed. [Figure 2] The histopathological findings confirmed the diagnosis of intramuscular lipoma and the patient is currently on follow-up.
Figure 1: Shows a sessile, nodular swelling of 1 × 1 cm at the left lateral border of the tongue

Click here to view
Figure 2: Microphotograph showing mature fat cells with nuclei located peripherally, diffusely infiltrating the skeletal muscle fibres (H and E, 100×)

Click here to view

Intramuscular lipomas are rather rare tumours, characterised by invasion into the muscle tissues or growth between the muscle fibres. [2] Intramuscular lipomas were first described in 1946. [3] A Japanese study on 40 patients with intramuscular lipomas found that the lesions most commonly occurred on the thigh, however, none were oral. Turkish researchers reviewed 13 cases of intramuscular lipomas on the tongue, five of which occurred in males and eight in females, with the patients' age ranging from 37 to 81 years. A Brazilian study reported the median patient age of 53 years; similar to the present case. [2],[4]

Clinically, the oral intramuscular lipoma presents as a well-circumscribed, painless, solitary, rubbery, submucosal swelling. Although it arises in the deeper tissues of the tongue, a protrusion from the lingual mucosa can be documented in a large-sized lesion. In the present case, although the size of tumour was small, it interfered with the speech and swallowing, and because of these complaints, the case was clinically misdiagnosed as carcinoma. Similar findings have been reported in other series. However, larger-sized giant intramuscular lipomas with sizes of up to 10 cm have been reported. [1],[5]

Intramuscular lipomas are of primary importance because of their differential diagnosis with liposarcoma, due to their large size, deep location, and their ability to infiltrate the adjacent muscles, and recur locally. Therefore, a detailed histological examination is essential for all intramuscular lipomas.

Histopathologically, findings in the present case were compatible with intramuscular lipoma. There was an absence of lipoblast proliferation, pleomorphism, cellular hyperchromatism, and increased mitotic activity. [1]

Intramuscular lipomas are usually well-demarcated, but have no capsule, and they infiltrate into the adjacent muscles. In the present case, the diagnosis was based only on the histopathological findings. However, complimentary diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the computed tomography (CT) scan assist in the precise delineation of the tumour and may facilitate the diagnosis of the benign nature of the lesion.

The ability of an intramuscular lipoma to infiltrate into the adjacent muscle tissue and its rate of recurrence contribute further to a false clinical diagnosis of a malignant tumour.

Surgical excision is the mainstay of treatment for these lesions. The recurrence rate for infiltrating lipomas has been reported to be 3 - 62.5%. They have the propensity to recur without adequate surgery. Therefore, complete surgical excision is mandatory. However, it rarely recurs in the oral cavity after complete removal. [2]

The clinician should be aware of the clinical characteristics and progression in order to differentiate malignant and benign tumours, as well as to plan the correct treatment of oral lesions. Although rare, intramuscular lipomas can occur in the oral cavity, especially located on the tongue. Patient follow-up is important due to the chance of recurrence of the tumour.

   References Top

1.Colella G, Biondi P, Caltabiano R, Vecchio GM, Amico P, Magro G. Giant intramuscular lipoma of the tongue: A case report and literature review. Cases J 2009;2:7906.   Back to cited text no. 1
2.Figueiredo RL, dos Santos CR, Lima NL, Verli FD, de Miranda JL, Marinho SA. Tongue Intramuscular Lipoma. Dentistry On-Line [Internet]. 2010 Sep. Available from: [Last cited on 2011 Jan 26].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Regan JM, Bickel WH, Broders AC. Infiltrating benign lipomas of the extremities. West J Surg Obstet Gynecol 1946;54:87-93.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Akbulut M, Aksoy A, Bir F. Intramuscular lipoma of the tongue: A case report andreview of the literature. Aegean Pathol J 2005;2:146-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Fregnani ER, Pires FR, Falzoni R, Lopes MA, Vargas PA. Lipomas of the oral cavity: Clinical findings, histological classification and proliferative activity of 46 cases. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2003;32:49-53.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Monika Garg
Department of Pathology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-2077.85047

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Treatment of intramuscular lipoma of tongue with enveloped mucosal flap design: a case report and review of the literature
Sung-Hwi Hur, Jae-Seok Lim, Sun-Gyu Choi, Ji-Yeon Kang, Ji-Hye Jung, Eun-Young Lee
Maxillofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2020; 42(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Anatomical Distribution of Intramuscular Lipomas
Sferopoulos NK
Journal of Forensic Science and Research. 2017; 1(1): 035
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded174    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal