Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Knee Arthroscopy for the Treatment of Lipoma Arborescens

A Systematic Review of the Literature

Wang, Casey K.1; Alfayez, Saud, MBBS1; Marwan, Yousef, BMedSc, BMBCh1,2; Martineau, Paul A., MDCM, FRCSC1; Burman, Mark, MDCM, FRCSC1

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.18.00139
Evidence-Based Systematic Reviews

Background: Lipoma arborescens is a rare, intra-articular benign lesion characterized by hyperplastic formation of villous projections that commonly presents as nonspecific mechanical knee pain. The treatment of choice for lipoma arborescens of the knee is open or arthroscopic synovectomy. However, data are lacking on the success of arthroscopic treatment, despite its increasingly widespread use. We aimed to systemically review the outcomes of arthroscopic treatment of lipoma arborescens.

Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched by 2 reviewers independently on October 9, 2018, and all relevant articles in the English and French languages up to and including that date were considered. The search terms “lipoma arborescens,” “knee,” “arthroscopy,” and “arthroscopic” were used. Articles were screened on the basis of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.

Results: Among the 110 initial studies that were retrieved, 28 satisfied the inclusion criteria. A total of 71 knees in 65 patients ranging from 13 to 78 years of age underwent arthroscopic synovectomy for the treatment of lipoma arborescens. The duration of follow-up ranged from 3 weeks to 84 months. The recurrence rate was 2.8%, and 2 patients underwent conversion to open surgery. One patient had postoperative hematoma that required evacuation, and another patient reported persistent residual pain at the time of the latest follow-up.

Conclusions: On the basis of this uncontrolled, systematic review, arthroscopic synovectomy is a safe and effective treatment for lipoma arborescens of the knee, with a success rate of >95%.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

1Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Montreal General Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

2Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Health Sciences Center, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait

E-mail address for C.K. Wang:

Investigation performed at the Montreal General Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Disclosure: The authors declare that no source of funding was used in this review. The Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms are provided with the online version of the article (

Copyright © 2019 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
You currently do not have access to this article

To access this article: