This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Multiple symmetric lipomatosis is a rare condition characterized by the symmetric growth of fatty tumors (lipomas) around the neck, shoulders, upper arms and/or upper trunk. It most often affects men of Mediterranean ancestry between the ages of 30 and 70 who have a history of alcohol abuse. Non-alcoholics and women can also be affected. The signs and symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Usually, accumulation of fatty tissue increases over time and may lead to a loss of neck mobility and pain. The lipomas can cause physical deformity and peripheral neuropathy, when they compress a nerve. In the majority of cases, the condition does not lead to cancer; however, lipomas can become cancerous in rare circumstances. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but it may be associated with mutations in mitochondrial DNA. Treatment may include medications to correct associated metabolic conditions, surgery or liposuction to remove the lipomas, and avoidance of alcohol.
For more information, visit GARD.