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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Solitary neurofibroma of popliteal fossa

Reza Nassiri, Fariborz Mansour-Ghanaei, Afshin Shafaghi, Zahra Purrasuli, Julio Martinez

CaseRepClinPractRev 2002; 3(3):133-135

ID: 474501

Available online:


Background: Neurofibroma is a benign slowly growing tumor of peripheral nerve composed mainly of Schwann cells, fibroblasts, and perineurial-like cells. It occurs as a solitary or multiple masses and may arise on any nerve.
On gross appearance, a neurofibroma is a firm, gray-white uncapsulated mass measuring from millimeters to centimeters. There are two types of neurofibromas; solitary and plexiform. Solitary neurofibromas are well
encapsulated and rubery. Plexiform neurofibromas are multifocal myxoid lesions that are often described as a ‘bag of worms’ and usually present in cases of von Recklinghausen disease (Neurofobromatosis type 1; NF1).
Case report: A 45-year-old white woman school teacher presents with a solitary flesh-colored mass in the right popliteal fossa which had developed for 6 years. The mass has grown progressively in recent months. This lesion
was painless and non-pruritic. All physical examinations were normal except a soft and pinkish mass on the flexor surface of her right knee. Its diameters were 10×5×3 cm with the skin ulceration in the center. All paraclinical
findings were within normal range. Subsequent pathology report gave the of diagnosis of ‘neurofibroma.’ The importance of this case report is unique due to its rare site. In reviewing recent medical litrature, so far, no
solitary neurofibroma has been reported to be associated with the popliteal fossa of a female knee.
Conclusions: Neurofibroma is a common benign peripheral nerve tumor. The management of neurofibromas is based upon the symptoms. Excision of the mass is warranted where there is pain, cosmetic consideration, progressive
neurological deterioration, compression of adjacent tissues and loss of function, as well as suspicion of malignant degeneration.

Keywords: popliteal fossa, solitary mass, Neurofibroma, Nerve Sheath Tumors