Myelolipomas are benign tumors or tumor-like lesions that are very rare. The myelolipomas consist of mature adipose tissue and variable amounts of hematopoietic tissue. In most cases, they occur in the adrenal gland area. The name of the disease was coined by the French pathologist Charles Oberling.


What is a myelolipoma?

Myelolipoma is a rare disease in which benign tumors occur. These are usually localized in the kidney area. Myelolipomas occur with equal frequency in women and men, with a peak age between 50 and 70 years of age. In autopsy studies, myelolipomas are found in 0.08 to 0.4 percent of all cases. See eshaoxing for Metachromatic Leukodystrophy Definition and Meaning.

Myelolipomas are yellowish to brownish tumors that can range in size from a few millimeters to 30 centimeters. However, the tumors are not encapsulated. As a rule, they occur individually and unilaterally in the area of ​​the adrenal gland. In rarer cases, they can also occur bilaterally and sometimes outside the adrenal gland.

They can occur in the liver, in the retroperitoneum, in the muscle fascia or in the mediastinum. Microscopic analyzes show that myelolipomas are mainly composed of mature adipose tissue and myeloid cells. In some cases, myelolipomas also have bony metaplasia or hemorrhages.


The causes responsible for the development of myelolipomas have not yet been sufficiently researched and are therefore largely unknown. However, there are various theories about the potential causes of myelolipomas. For example, there is a discussion that the transformation (medical term metaplasia) of so-called reticuloendothelial cells in blood capillaries could be a possible cause.

Such transformations can occur in response to certain stimuli such as stress, infection, or necrosis. Sometimes it is also believed that the myelolipoma is a place where extramedullary blood formation takes place. This is a form of blood formation that takes place outside of the bone marrow. More recent research indicates that both the bone marrow-like component and the fat portion of the myelolipoma are constructed in the same way.

This leads to the conclusion that myelolipomas may actually be true new growths of body tissue (medical term neoplasia). In addition, a possible connection between myelolipomas and congenital enlargement of the adrenal glands (medical term adrenal hyperplasia) is discussed in the specialist literature.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

In principle, various symptoms can occur with existing myelolipomas. However, in the majority of cases, the tumors are asymptomatic diseases. This means that the myelolipomas do not cause any noticeable symptoms or discomfort and therefore cannot be noticed by the people affected.

In such cases, the myelolipomas are usually only discovered by chance, for example during radiological examinations. If they remain undetected and show no symptoms, it can happen that myelolipomas are only found during the autopsy. Symptoms that can be felt by the affected patients often only arise in the case of larger tumors.

In such cases, people suffering from myelolipomas suffer from abdominal and flank pain, for example. Only very rarely is it associated with endocrine disorders such as Conn’s syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome or inherited adrenal hyperplasia, with associated symptoms.

Diagnosis & course of disease

If typical symptoms of a myelolipoma appear, a specialist should be consulted immediately, who will prescribe the necessary measures. Radiological examinations, which visualize the internal organs and possible tumors, can be used to diagnose myelolipomas. Medical examinations are important in any case, since the disease must be differentiated from other, more serious diseases with similar symptoms.

The prognosis of myelolipomas is usually relatively good. To date, no malignant degeneration of myelolipoma into malignant tumors has been observed. In rare cases, complications can occur that include bleeding. These are usually caused by traumatic or spontaneously occurring tumor ruptures. Due to the rarity of the tumors, reliable information on mortality in connection with myelolipomas is not possible.


Since most cases of myelolipoma are tumors, the usual complications and risks associated with cancer are associated with this condition. In the worst case, the tumor can also spread to other regions and thus damage other healthy tissue. In some cases, this also reduces the life expectancy of the patient.

It is not uncommon for a myelolipoma to go undetected, making early treatment impossible. Due to the disease, most patients suffer from pain in the abdomen or flanks. This pain can also spread to the back or other areas of the body and cause discomfort there. The quality of life is significantly reduced by this disease.

Usually, a myelolipoma only needs to be treated and removed if it causes symptoms or if the cancer could spread. In most cases, if there are no symptoms, no treatment is carried out. There are no further complications and there is usually a positive course of the disease. If the treatment is successful, the patient’s life expectancy will not be reduced by the myelolipoma.

When should you go to the doctor?

If signs of a tumor are noticed, medical advice should always be sought. If you notice any unusual lumps, lumps or skin changes, it is best to speak to your family doctor immediately. Medical help is also necessary in the event of a deterioration in the state of health that cannot be attributed to any other cause. Doctors can diagnose a myelolipoma and then start treatment right away. If this happens early, serious complications can be averted in many cases.

People who have already had a myelolipoma or another benign tumor should inform the doctor responsible if symptoms recur. People with previous illnesses and other dispositions that promote the development of a tumor should also see a doctor with the symptoms mentioned. A myelolipoma can be diagnosed by the general practitioner. Further treatment is carried out by internists and specialists in tumors and metastases. During the period of treatment, the doctor must be consulted regularly, since complications can also occur with benign tumors, which must be treated immediately.

Treatment & Therapy

The therapeutic measures in the presence of a myelolipoma depend on the individual clinical picture and the severity of the lesion. In the case of myelolipoma, which are characterized by a small size and do not cause any symptoms in the affected patient, treatment of the myelolipoma can be avoided for the time being.

In this case, the myelolipoma only needs to be subjected to regular specialist examinations in order to contain any changes or potential complications that may occur in good time. Myelolipoma, which is associated with noticeable symptoms, is usually treated by surgically removing the affected adrenal gland.

Outlook & Forecast

Myelolipomas usually offer a good prognosis. Degeneration does not occur and tumor ruptures are rare. Occasionally, the kidney tumor causes symptoms such as abdominal and flank pain. Endocrine disorders such as Conn’s syndrome can also occur. These and other side effects worsen the quality of life, but are not life-threatening.

Drug treatment is usually possible. The myelolipomas themselves are surgically removed. Small tumors do not require treatment. However, regular check-ups by the doctor are necessary so that any degeneration can be treated at an early stage. If the myelolipomas degenerate, the prognosis worsens. The survival rate depends on the stage of the disease. The symptoms also affect the prognosis. Life expectancy depends on the course of the tumor disease.

With successful therapy, mortality is not reduced. The patient can lead a symptom-free life and only has to change their diet to relieve the kidneys. Exact data are not available due to the rarity of the condition. The specialist doctor responsible can make a prognosis based on the symptoms and consult comparable cases to assess life expectancy.


Concrete measures for the prevention of myelolipomas do not yet exist according to the current state of knowledge in medical science. There is only evidence that specific external stimuli can promote the development of a myelolipoma in humans. Such stimuli include, for example, psychological and physical stress, various infections or necrosis, which is understood to mean the death of cells in the living organism.

If typical signs of a myelolipoma such as pain in the abdomen and flanks occur, a doctor should be consulted immediately to initiate adequate therapeutic measures.


In the case of a myelolipoma, the follow-up measures are very limited in most cases. The person affected is primarily dependent on a quick and early diagnosis of the disease, so that there are no further complications or a further deterioration of the symptoms. Self-healing cannot usually occur with myelolipoma, so those affected should ideally consult a doctor at the first signs and symptoms of the disease.

Treatment is not always necessary for myelolipoma, although the condition of the tumor should be checked regularly by a doctor. In some cases, a surgical procedure is necessary, which can completely remove the tumor or the affected organ. After such a procedure, the patient should rest and take care of his body.

You should refrain from exertion or other stressful and physical activities. Regular check-ups by a doctor are also important after the procedure. It cannot be universally predicted whether myelolipoma will result in a reduced life expectancy for those affected. Furthermore, those affected by this disease usually do not have any special aftercare measures available.

You can do that yourself

The measures that those affected can take themselves if they have a myelolipoma depend on the individual clinical picture and the severity of the lesion. Smaller growths often do not cause any symptoms and do not necessarily require treatment. However, larger tumors should be examined and treated by a doctor.

The patient can support the therapy by resting and consulting closely with the doctor responsible. If the tumor increases in size, the doctor must be informed. Serious complications such as pain attacks or even a rupture of the tumor also require rapid clarification. In addition to the prescribed medicines, there are also a number of natural remedies to relieve the pain. Preparations with arnica and belladonna, for example, have proven effective, but marigold ointment can also alleviate the typical symptoms. The use of alternative remedies should be discussed with the doctor beforehand.

Larger myelolipomas must be surgically removed. The most important self-help measure is to take care of the body after the operation. The surgical wound must be cared for according to the doctor’s instructions, as there is an increased risk of infection. In addition, regular visits to the doctor are indicated in order to be able to detect a possible recurrence at an early stage.