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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Intramuscular myxoid lipoma in the proximal forearm presenting as an olecranon mass with superficial radial nerve palsy: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Peter Lewkonia, Shaun AC Medlicott, Kevin A Hildebrand
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-321) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

PL reviewed the available literature, and drafted the manuscript. SM provided the microscope images and provided background information regarding myxoid lipomas. KH assisted with critical review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Extremity lipomas may occur in any location, including the proximal forearm. We describe a case of a patient with an intramuscular lipoma presenting as an unusual posterior elbow mass.

Case presentation

We discuss the case of a 57-year-old Caucasian man who presented with a tender, posterior elbow mass initially diagnosed as chronic olecranon bursitis. A minor sensory disturbance in the distribution of the superficial radial nerve was initially thought to be unrelated, but was likely caused by mass effect from the lipoma. No pre-operative advanced imaging was obtained because the diagnosis was felt to have already been made. At the time of surgery, a fatty mass originating in the volar forearm muscles was found to have breached the dorsal forearm fascia and displaced the olecranon bursa. Tissue diagnosis was made by histopathology as a myxoid lipoma with no aggressive features. Post-operative recovery was uneventful.


We present a case of an unusual elbow mass presenting with symptoms consistent with chronic olecranon bursitis, a relatively common condition. The only unexplained pre-operative finding was the non-specific finding of a transient superficial radial nerve deficit. We remind clinicians to be cautious when diagnosing soft tissue masses in the extremities when unexplained physical findings are present.

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