What Is an Intermuscular Lipoma?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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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.


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Post 4

I have a fatty limpoma on the front of my shoulder and it is about an inch in diameter. It has spread from the sac into the surrounding muscle and is starting to impede my shoulder movement.

As I am a hairdresser, this makes my shoulder ache and feel heavy and painful after a busy day. I am due to have it removed next month and was wondering how long I might have to take off work as I'm self-employed. My doctor didn't really explain how invasive it would be or the recover time. Does anyone have a rough idea, please?

Post 3

A friend of mine had a lipoma fatty tissue on the back of her arm near her underarm. It was small to begin with. She did go to her doctor and he said it was so small, no treatment was necessary.

She just let it go for about six years and it gradually grew very large. When she was evaluated again by her doctor, he said surgery, right away, was necessary. When he got in there, he found the fatty lipomas had grown in among the muscle fibers. He had to do some cutting into muscle to get it all out.

When the lipoma doesn't stay in its own sac, it spreads out between the muscles.

Post 2

@Oceania - I'm sorry you had so much pain before your lipoma surgery. Pain is difficult, but at least it gave you a sign that something was wrong.

Since lipoma is hereditary, there's not too much you can do to prevent it.

Some illness like colon cancer,and heart disease are indirectly inherited, but you can change your life style to minimize the chances of getting it.

Post 1

I had to have my intermuscular lipoma surgically removed. It had started causing me pain. Suddenly, I would have to bend over, and I could not straighten up because it hurt so much.

My mother told me that my grandmother had the same problem. This was back in the day before they knew what a lipoma was, so we can’t be certain that’s what she had, but since the condition is hereditary, it is likely.

I remember my mother telling me that the surgery did not take long at all. I was out for it, so I had no concept of time. I do know that I had to stay there for two more days to recover enough to sit up and walk.

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