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Madelung Disease

Analysis of Clinicopathological Experience in Taipei Veterans General Hospital

Wan, Shao-Chen, MD*; Huang, Man-Hsu, MD; Perng, Cherng-Kang, MD*; Liao, Wen-Chieh, MD*‡

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000001719

Background The main feature of Madelung disease (MD), a rare condition, is the growth of adipose tissue without a capsule. Usually, this disease is known for its prominent features with fat deposition around the neck, shoulder, back, or chest wall. Clinically, the patient is likely to exhibit alcohol, neuropathy, and metabolic disorders; however, no clear cause has been confirmed.

Aims The aim of this study was to analyze the morphological, pathophysiological, and various treatment methods of MD. We have presented and discussed 16 cases of treatment of this disease at our hospital and reviewed the literature on this subject.

Methods We carried out a retrospective chart review of 16 consecutive patients with MD treated from 1989 through 2017. Patient demographic data, tumor size and location, and follow-up data were evaluated. Patients usually seek treatment because of the disfigured appearance, restricted range of the motion of the head and neck, inconvenience in daily activity such as eating or speaking, and worry about the mass effect. All patients underwent surgical resection and/or combined liposuction.

Results Among the patients, 14 were men, aged 38 to 80 years, with a history of disease ranging from 6 months to 7 years. The mean duration from symptoms to diagnosis of MD was 4.4 years. The mean duration of follow-up was 82.8 months (range, 5–192 months). Three patients died of coronary artery disease at follow-up of 27, 78, and 141 months. The functional results were satisfactory in all patients. Severe complications were not observed.

Conclusions According to our experience, surgical resection is the main method of improving the appearance, ensuring eradication of the tumor, and reducing the possibility of recurrence. In addition, we have a case in which atypical changes were confirmed by histological examination in fractional surgery. A long follow-up period is recommended considering the high propensity and mean time to recurrence. Although malignant transformation of MD is rare occurrence, it occurred in 1 of the 16 patients.

From the *Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, and

Department of Pathology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang-Ming University; and

Institute of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Received September 25, 2018, and accepted for publication, after revision October 3, 2018.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Wen-Chieh Liao, MD, Plastic Surgery, Taipei Veterans General Hospital 19F 201, Shih-Pai Road, Sec. 2, Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail:

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