Accessibility Tools

What is a Lipoma?

A lipoma is a fatty tissue growth that usually develops slowly between the skin and muscle. They most commonly appear around the shoulders, trunk, neck, and arms and can appear on any part of the body. They are non-cancerous and harmless and usually do not require treatment.

Types of Lipomas

The different types of lipomas include:

  • Conventional Lipoma: They contain white fat cells.
  • Hibernoma: They contain brown fat cells.
  • Angiolipoma: They contain blood vessels and fat cells.
  • Fibrolipoma: They contain fibrous and fatty tissue.
  • Spindle Cell Lipoma: The fat cells within this lipoma are spindle shaped.
  • Pleomorphic Lipoma: The fat cells within this lipoma are of various shapes and sizes.

What are the Symptoms of Lipoma?

The typical symptoms of lipomas are:

  • Generally located just below the skin
  • Have a soft doughy lump under the skin
  • Usually round or oval in shape and less than 2 inches is size
  • Tend to move if prodded with your finger
  • Rarely painful expect if they grow on nerves or if they contain blood vessels

What are the Causes of Lipoma?

Doctors are still not clear of what causes lipomas to grow. Genetic predisposition may be one of the main causing factors as this condition occurs mostly to those who have a family history.

How are Lipomas Diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will first perform a physical exam.  Diagnostic studies such as Ultrasound, MRI or CT scan may be ordered for an in-depth evaluation of the growth. A biopsy may also be ordered to rule out cancer.

What is the Treatment for Lipomas?

Generally, lipomas do not need treatment since they are painless and harmless. Treatment is undertaken only if the lipomas are uncomfortable and painful and for aesthetic reasons. Your healthcare provider may remove the lipoma surgically by making a small cut under local anesthesia. Lipoma removal is a safe and effective treatment option. In some cases, your healthcare provider may use a liposuction procedure to remove these fatty tissues to reduce the lipoma size.

Prevention of Lipomas

You can lower the risk of developing Madelung’s disease (a condition characterized by the growth of multiple lipomas) by avoiding excessive alcohol intake.