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What is a Lipoma?

A lipoma is a benign (non – cancerous) tumor made up of fat cells. Lipomas are derived from the subcutaneous tissue, the layer of fatty tissue within the skin. This tumor grows slowly, and most are not bothersome. Lipomas are very common in the general population, and can be found mostly in middle-aged adults, though they can occur at all ages. Lipomas are found in both sexes equally.

What causes a lipoma?

The exact cause of lipomas is unknown. However, lipomas have a genetic predilection, so often occur in those with a positive family history. Sudden injury to a body part can induce a spontaneous cell growth, resulting in a trauma-induced lipoma.


As lipomas grow very slowly over several years, they usually develop unnoticed until they achieve a larger size. Most often, they affect the neck, the shoulders, the arms and the trunk, nonetheless can appear everywhere on the body where the subcutaneous fat tissue is present. They are convex, above the surface of the skin, often dome – or egg – shaped, of soft, smooth and even doughy consistency. Since they consist of subcutaneous lipids (fats), they are easily moved under the skin with one’s fingers. The skin surface above them remains unchanged. They do not cause any systemic symptoms, like fever or chills, but eventually some localized pain can be felt when applying lots of pressure.

How do you treat a lipoma?

Sometimes, lipomas require no treatment as they eventually stop growing and do not cause any notable discomfort. If treatment necessary, a simple surgical excision is appropriate. This treatment method immediately improves the appearance of the skin, and helps to prevent secondary infections. Liposuction is also utilized for treatment of lipomas, sometimes in combination with a surgical procedure, especially for larger tumors. Come into PS Dermatology & Surgery for an evaluation.

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