, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 489-490
Date: 11 Nov 2011

Growing fatty mass in the back: diagnosis of a multiple symmetric lipomatosis (Madelung’s disease) in association with chronic alcoholism

This is an excerpt from the content

Part 2: answer

Growing fatty mass in the back: diagnosis and discussion


Multiple symmetric lipomatosis (Madelung’s disease)


Multiple symmetric lipomatosis was first described in 1888 by the German surgeon Otto Madelung [1]. Several years later, Lanois and Bensaude described a further case series of the same entity, which is now refered to as Madelung’s disease or Lanois-Bensaude syndrome [2].

Most affected patients are men with a history of chronic alcoholism. Typical signs of this condition are slowly growing fatty masses around the neck, upper part of the arms, pelvis, back and the thigh. There is a predilection for people from the Mediterranean [3].

The pathogenesis of this syndrome is unknown. Recently published data suggest that children with similar findings might have an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction [4, 5]. However the great majority of cases of Madelung’s disease occur in men aged between 30 and 70 years with known alcoholism [6].

There are only a few repor ...

The case presentation can be found at doi:10.1007/s00256-011-1281-5.