Background: An elastofibroma is a benign, soft-tissue tumor and is important in the differential diagnosis of thoracic wall masses. Here, patients with elastofibromas who underwent thoracic surgery were retrospectively reviewed to elucidate elastofibroma formation and to facilitate the differential diagnosis. Methods: This is a retrospective and descriptive study of a series of 30 patients with elastofibroma dorsi. The data was obtained by review of the hospital records. Results: There were 27 female and three male patients (mean age, 55.13 +/- 8.7 years) with a total of 42 elastofibroma dorsi tumors (12 bilateral cases, 18 unilateral cases) diagnosed between January 2004 and October 2011. Twenty patients (67%) underwent surgery as a result of subscapular swelling and pain. In 10 (33%) asymptomatic patients, elastofibromas were found incidentally during a thoracotomy. Imaging methods in symptomatic patients included computerized tomography (15 cases), magnetic resonance (three), and ultrasonography (two). For five patients, fluorodeoxyglucose uptake values were available and revealed mild metabolic activity in the elastofibromas. Elastofibromas were significantly larger in symptomatic patients (8.15 +/- 1.9 vs. 6.2 +/- 2.3; P= 0.02). Exposure to long-term repetitive micro-trauma was a precipitating factor in 23 (77%) patients. Seroma formation, the most common surgical complication, was observed in 40% of patients. Conclusion: The differential diagnosis of elastofibroma dorsi is straightforward, and preoperative histology is unnecessary when the clinical, radiological, and metabolic characteristics are known. Repetitive micro-trauma may predispose to hyperproliferation of fibroelastic tissue, and genetics may also play a role. Surgical treatment can be reserved for cases with severe symptoms.