Chapter 136



Primary neoplasms originating in the retropharyngeal space (RPS) are extremely uncommon. Primary lesions of the RPS are usually related to the contents, which are lymph nodes and fatty tissues. As a result, lipomas may be seen in the RPS. These are unusual lesions, so gender and age predilections have not been thoroughly described.

Clinical Findings

Small RPS lipoma may be an incidental finding. However, large lesions may displace adjacent structures and produce vague symptoms. Clinical examination may show displacement of the pharyngeal mucosa.


Lipomas are yellow, lobulated, and very well encapsulated tumors. They consist of normal adult adipose tissue. Lipomas are classified histologically according to the kind of other tissues that may be present (e.g., fibrolipoma, angiolipoma, and myxolipoma). These tumors very rarely undergo malignant degeneration. Liposarcomas originate from lipoblasts within fascia rather than ordinary lipocytes.


Lipomas are benign lesions. If they are asymptomatic they can be left alone. Surgical excision is indicated if the lesions are large and compressing adjacent structures.

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Dec 27, 2015 | Posted by in HEAD & NECK IMAGING | Comments Off on Lipoma

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