Gastrointestinal tract lipomas

Gastrointestinal tract (GIT) lipomas are not common and can be found anywhere along the entire length of the gastrointestinal tract

GIT lipomas are most frequently encountered between the ages to 50 and 70 3.

The majority of lipomas are asymptomatic and found incidentally. As they can be pedunculated (see below) they occasionally present as the leading point of an intussusception. When large they may develop mucosal ulceration and present with iron deficiency anaemia or positive faecal occult blood testing 3. Acute heavy bleeding is uncommon.

Gastrointestinal lipomas, like lipomas elsewhere, are composed of mature adipocytes with an enveloping fibrous capsule 3.

The vast majority (90-95%) 2,3 are submucosal, with only a small number subserosal, and can be sessile or pedunculated 2

Location
Fluoroscopy: Barium studies

Lipomas are usually submucosal or occasionally pedunculated. They usually have a very smooth surface, unless mucosal ulceration is present. 

CT / MRI

On both CT and MRI lipomas are usually easy to diagnose on account of their density (-80 to -120 HU) / intensity following that of fat on all sequences. Lipomas are usually entirely of fat density without solid components. If a solid non-fat component is seen then the possibility of the mass representing a liposarcoma should be entertained, although these are exceedingly rare 1. Overlying ulceration may result in some non-fat density / intensity stranding near the mucosal surface.

As these are benign slow growing lesions, and usually little doubt exists in the diagnosis, no treatment is required. If symptomatic then local excision is sufficient 4.

Share Article

Article Information

rID: 1515
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Intestinal lipoma
  • Gastrointestinal tract lipoma
  • Intestinal lipomas
  • Gastrointestinal lipomas

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

  • Drag
    Case 1: in ascending colon
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 1: in ascending colon
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2: in descending colon
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 3: gastric lipoma
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Colonic lipoma an...
    Case 4: colonic
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 5: multiple with intussusception
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Lipoma
    Case 6
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 7: small bowel
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 8: colonic lipoma
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.