An angiolipoma is a small, benign, rubbery tumor that contains blood vessels and grows under your skin. Angiolipomas usually develop in young adults between the ages of 20 and 30. They most often appear in your forearms, and they can be painful if touched.
An angiolipoma is a type of lipoma. It’s a tumor of fatty tissue that contains blood vessels, and it grows under your skin. They often appear in more than one location in your body or in bunches in the same area.
There are two types of angiolipomas: noninfiltrating angiolipomas and infiltrating angiolipomas.
Noninfiltrating angiolipomas are more common. They don’t extend deep into your skin, though they may be painful.
Infiltrating angiolipomas aren’t very common. They extend deeper into your skin, including muscles, fat or fibrous tissue. They’re usually painless.
An angiolipoma is a type of lipoma. Fat makes up all lipomas, but an angiolipoma also contains blood vessels.
Most lipomas aren’t painful, but angiolipomas can be painful.
Liposarcomas look like angiolipomas. However, while angiolipomas and liposarcomas look similar, angiolipomas tend to grow slowly and are well-defined. Liposarcomas tend to be larger, grow more rapidly and are not as well-defined, meaning their edges may be hard to distinguish.
Liposarcomas are soft tissue cancer that develop in fat cells. Lipomas are benign soft tissue tumors. They grow slowly and aren’t cancerous, and they usually don’t need treatment.
Your healthcare provider can help decide if a biopsy or imaging is necessary to tell them apart.
Angiolipomas can appear in anyone. However, they’re more common in:
Angiolipomas aren’t very common. Only 5% to 17% of all lipomas are angiolipomas.
Angiolipomas typically develop on your forearms, but they may also develop in your trunk (torso), neck, upper arms and legs.
They typically measure between one and four centimeters in diameter. They have a spongy or rubbery texture, but you may feel sensitivity or pain if you touch them.
Angiolipoma symptoms include:
It’s not known what exactly causes angiolipomas. However, they may be caused by:
Angiolipomas aren’t contagious. You can’t get or spread angiolipomas through skin-to-skin contact.
An angiolipoma isn’t a cancerous tumor.
Angiolipomas are benign tumors. “Benign” means it won’t become cancer.
Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam. They’ll touch (palpate) your lump and may ask a few questions, including:
Your healthcare provider may conduct the following tests to diagnose angiolipoma:
Angiolipomas don’t go away on their own. However, unless an angiolipoma causes pain or discomfort, you don’t have to treat it.
Surgery (excision or extirpation) removes painful or uncomfortable angiolipomas. Most angiolipomas are just below your skin, so surgically removing them isn’t difficult.
Before surgery, your healthcare provider will administer local anesthesia to numb the area around your angiolipoma. You may feel some pressure, but you won’t feel any pain.
Once the area is numb, angiolipoma removal usually takes less than an hour.
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can reduce the pain associated with angiolipomas. Not everyone can take NSAIDs, so it’s a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before use.
If you have an angiolipoma surgically removed, you may experience pain, bruising or swelling in the area. Your symptoms should go away after a week.
Because healthcare providers don’t know what causes angiolipomas, it may not be possible to prevent them. However, you may lower your risk of developing angiolipomas by:
With proper diagnosis and treatment, the outlook for people with angiolipomas is good. If you have your angiolipomas surgically removed, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions to care for your incisions. Be sure to schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.
Angiolipomas share many of the same symptoms as liposarcoma, so it’s important to see your healthcare provider as soon as you notice a lump under your skin.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be scary noticing a lump under your skin, especially if it’s painful. However, angiolipomas aren’t cancerous. They won’t spread across your body, though several may appear in the same area of your body. Talk to your healthcare provider when you first notice a lump under your skin for a proper diagnosis. If your angiolipoma isn’t causing pain or discomfort, it isn’t necessary to surgically remove it.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/21/2021.
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