Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoma

Ectopic tissue / inclusions

Adipose tissue

Last author update: 1 January 2014
Last staff update: 15 February 2024

Copyright: 2003-2024,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Adipose tissue metaplasia

Jayalakshmi Balakrishna, M.D.
Page views in 2023: 2,900
Page views in 2024 to date: 1,647
Cite this page: Balakrishna J. Adipose tissue. website. Accessed July 13th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • Pathological enlargement of lymph nodes caused by abnormal accumulation of fat, due to mature, benign adipocytes within lymph node capsules
  • Lipo-lymph nodes
  • Lipoplastic lymphadenopathy
  • Very common
  • Most commonly involved sites are external iliac and obturator groups
  • Accumulation of abnormal quantities of fat within lymph nodes in excess of normal aging changes
  • Benign process with good prognosis
  • Can cause mass effect depending on size
  • May mimic lymphoma or other neoplasms
  • Unknown; postulated causes include exaggeration of normal fat deposition with aging, previous abdominal inflammatory disease, obesity
Clinical features
  • Enlarged lymph nodes; may lead to formation of large masses up to 10 cm
  • Lymph node biopsy
Radiology description
  • Progressive enlargement and increased fatty infiltration
  • CAT scan and lymphangiography findings can be misleading towards neoplastic process
Case reports
  • Excision of involved lymph node in symptomatic cases serves both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Progressively enlarging lymph node

Largest intra-abdominal adenopathy

Gross description
  • Enlarged lymph node with soft greasy yellow areas within capsule, or entirely replaced by similar cut surfaces
Gross images

Contributed by Jayalakshmi Balakrishna, M.D.

Lymph node replaced by adipose tissue

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Benign mature adipocytes populate nodes whose capsules are thinly attenuated with fine vascular trabeculae dividing fat deposits
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images
Missing Image


Contributed by Jayalakshmi Balakrishna, M.D.

Lymphoid tissue closely admixed with adipocytes

Lymph node with adipocytes within capsule

Differential diagnosis
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