Photo Quiz

Acute Onset of Elbow Swelling


Am Fam Physician. 2016 Aug 1;94(3):243-244.

A 50-year-old man presented with swelling in his right elbow that began 10 days earlier. He had no history of injury to the arm, but he often rested his elbows on his desk at work. The elbow was not painful, and there was no arthralgia. He did not have a fever. His medical history was significant for chronic glomerulonephritis. He had been on hemodialysis for one year.

Physical examination revealed a spherical, fluctuant swelling over the posterior portion of the right elbow (Figure 1). There was no redness or tenderness to palpation, and range of motion was normal.

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Figure 1.

Figure 1.


Based on the patient's history and physical examination findings, which one of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

A. Lipoma arborescens.

Address correspondence to Kiyoshi Shikino, MD, PhD, at Reprints are not available from the authors.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.


1. Del Buono A, Franceschi F, Palumbo A, Denaro V, Maffulli N. Diagnosis and management of olecranon bursitis. Surgeon. 2012;10(5):297–300.

2. Baumbach SF, Lobo CM, Badyine I, Mutschler W, Kanz KG. Prepatellar and olecranon bursitis: literature review and development of a treatment algorithm. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2014;134(3):359–370.

This series is coordinated by John E. Delzell Jr., MD, MSPH, Assistant Medical Editor.

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