J Brachial Plex Peripher Nerve Inj 2008; 03(01): e115-e118
DOI: 10.1186/1749-7221-3-17
Case report
Valbuena et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Compression of the median nerve in the proximal forearm by a giant lipoma: A case report[*]

Sebastian E Valbuena
1   Deparment of Orthopeadic Surgery & Traumatology, Hospital Interzonal El Cruce, Alta complejidad en red. Florencio Varela, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Greg A O’Toole
2   Institut de la Main, Clinique Jouvenet, Paris, France
Eric Roulot
2   Institut de la Main, Clinique Jouvenet, Paris, France
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

21 February 2008

10 June 2008

Publication Date:
17 September 2014 (online)


Background Compression of the median nerve by a tumour in the elbow and forearm region is rare. We present a case of neuropathy of the median nerve secondary to compression by giant lipoma in the proximal forearm.

Case presentation A 46-year-old man presented with a six month history of gradually worsening numbness and paresthesia on the palmar aspect of the left thumb and thenar eminence. Clinical examination reveals a hypoaesthesia in the median nerve area of the left index and thumb compared to the contralateral side. Electromyography showed prolonged sensory latency in the distribution of the median nerve corresponding to compression in the region of the pronator teres (pronator syndrome). Radiological investigations were initially reported as normal. Conservative treatment for one month did not result in any improvement. Surgical exploration was performed and a large intermuscular lipoma enveloped the median nerve was found. A complete excision of the tumour was performed. Postoperative revaluation the X-ray of the elbow was seen to demonstrate a well-circumscribed mass in the anterior aspect of the proximal forearm. At follow-up, 14 months after surgery, the patient noted complete return of the sensation and resolution of the paresthesia.

Conclusion In case of atypical findings or non frequent localization of nerve compression, clinically interpreted as an idiopathic compression, it is recommended to make a pre-operative complementary Ultrasound or MRI study.

*This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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