What is Elastofibroma Dorsi?

In this Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics blog, we discuss a slow growing benign tumor that is predominantly found in individuals over the age of 50, but may also affect children.

Elastofibroma Dorsi (ED) is a rare benign soft-tissue tumor located in the inferior subscapular region between the scapula and the thoracic wall. Diagnosis of ED begins with a physical exam and is further investigated through MRI imaging. Although a surgical excision is not required, a complete excision of the mass is recommended in order to optimize the management of the benign tumor.

Like all GDO blogs, this is not meant to be a replacement for a formal medical consultation. The information contained here is meant for personal education only.

What is Elastofibroma Dorsi?

Elastofibroma Dorsi is a rare benign, soft-tissue slow-growing tumor seen predominantly in females over the age of 50 years. The most common site is the infrascapular region.

The symptoms of ED depend on the site and the size of the lesion. These symptoms include discomfort and stiffness localized near the subscapular and infrascapular region between the thoracic wall, serratus anterior, and latissimus dorsi muscles.

Often the presence of swelling near the site of the mass makes patients prefer surgical excision of the tumor. Although a surgical procedure is not required, a complete excision of the mass is recommended in order to optimize the management of the benign tumor.

 

Who is most affected by Elastofibroma Dorsi?

Elastofibroma Dorsi is more commonly found in individuals over the age of 50 years, but may also affect younger children. Specifically, elderly women with an average age of 65. Ranging from 2% to 24% of cases, patients are older than 55.

 

What are the causes of Elastofibroma Dorsi?

Unfortunately, the pathogenesis of ED remains unsolved but three etiological theories have been identified. The first is chronic and repetitive mechanical stress which leads to microtrauma. Secondly, family history of a tumor could suggest a nontraumatic origin. The third theory suggests a familial predisposition of underlying enzymatic disorder or defect.

 

What are the Symptoms?

Clinically, 50% of the cases are asymptomatic of Elastofibroma Dorsi. Signs and symptoms depend on the site and the size of the lesion. When the symptoms occur, they consist of discomfort and stiffness localized near the subscapular and infrascapular region between the thoracic wall, serratus anterior, and latissimus dorsi muscles. Some patients have also reported to have a clunking sensation.

 

How is Elastofibroma Dorsi Diagnosed?

Elastofibroma Dorsi diagnosis starts with a physical exam to determine the location and size of mass (varies from 4-12 cm). Once diagnosis is confirmed, a radiological investigation is performed. Below are the different imaging methods recommended in the diagnosis:

 

How is Elastofibroma Dorsi treated?

Treatment of ED requires a complete excision of the mass in order to optimize the management of the benign tumor. Surgical excision is recommended when causing functional disability, compression symptoms, swelling, or when the tumor exceeds 5cm in diameter. 


While Elastofibroma Dorsi may be a concerning diagnosis, treatment for these tumors has advanced rapidly over the past decade. Your team at Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics is here to provide insight, support, and innovative treatment strategies to equip you or your loved one to return to function promptly. Reach out today to learn more.