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For The Record:

February 14, 1988

I was entertained by "Fat Begone!" by Joyce Wadler. A serious error was made in which lymphoma was substituted for lipoma . Suction lipectomy is never used to remove lymphomas or any other cancerous growths. I presume that the first procedure that physician Yves-Gerard Illouz performed was removal of a lipoma, not lymphoma.

The term lipectomy derives from the Greek root lipos , "fat," combined with the suffix from the Greek ektome , "excision." A lymphoma is a malignant tumor involving the lymphatic cells and is derived from the Latin root lymph , meaning "clear spring water"--lymph fluid does not contain red blood cells. The - oma suffix is from the Greek tumor (or new growth) and can be used to mean either benign or malignant tumors. In daily medical usage, a lipoma is benign, and a lymphoma is cancerous.

JEFFREY GREENSPOON,M.D.

Los Angeles

Our apologies. In both the above cases the readers are correct. --The Editors

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