1952 Ficarra and McLaughlin. Pannicular hernias

Low back pain due to pannicular hernias. Report of a case

 Bernard J. Ficarra, M.D. and William J. McLaughlin M.D.


Personal notes:

This is a short case report from 1952 of one woman with multiple pannicular hernias or back mice with low back pain. The patient thought they could be cancer and insisted to have them removed. Patients’s low back pain was resolved. The authors JUST had two references of what these fatty painful tumors could be.

 Notes on the article:

They thought it was worthy to report this case (low back pain due to herniation of fat through lumbodorsal fascia also known as back mice).

A 29-year-old woman with a sudden onset of low back pain for 3 months. It was associated with lifting a heavy living room chair. The pain became worse progressively. She sought medical advice when she felt several nodules in her back. She thought they could be malignant tumors.

 On examination everything was normal except for MULTIPLE TENDER MASSES that could be felt beneath the skin bilateral on either side around the lumbosacral junction.

 The masses were multiple, BILATERAL and markedly tender. It was thought that the painful masses were MYOFASCIAL NODULES.

 The patient demanded surgical removal of the nodules (since she was afraid they were cancer).

 After surgical removal the masses showed to be multiple lipomas, which had herniated through the lumbodorsal fascia. All the masses were removed bilaterally.

 The outcome was good at least for 4 months.

 The authors found TWO REFERENCES of herniation of fat: the work in 1944 by Copeman and Ackerman and Carling and Ross’ book in 1948.

 They mentioned that the differerential diagnosis must be done with certain types of panniculitis, specially Weber-Christian disease (relapsing nodular panniculitis).

 Published in june 2018 By Marta Cañis Parera   ORCID iD icon


  • FICARRA BJ, MCLAUGHLIN WJ. Low back pain due to pannicular hernias; report of a case. J Am Med Assoc. 1952 Nov 1;150(9):855. PubMed PMID: 12990314.
  • Copeman, W.S.C. and Ackerman, W. Fibrositis of the back (1944) . Quart.J.Med. 13,37.