DefinitionA lipoma is a harmless lump of fat. There are several types, usually classified by where they appear. Lipomas may occur anywhere and are commonly are found just beneath the skin.
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CausesLipomas have no known cause. They may be related to a previous injury to the tissue.
Risk FactorsFactors that increase your chances of developing a lipoma include:
- Family history
- Lipomatosis, a hereditary condition that results in lipomas all over the body
- Adiposis dolorosa, a rare condition that results in painful lipomas
SymptomsLipomas are usually soft, painless, moveable lumps under the skin. They usually don't cause symptoms.
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is usually based on smoothness, softness, and ease of movement under the skin. Your doctor may do a biopsy to rule out other skin conditions.
TreatmentTalk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. You may want to leave the lump alone. Treatment options include:
- Surgical excision—lipomas are cut out
- Liposuction—removes excess fat from under the skin
PreventionThere are no current guidelines to prevent lipoma.
American Academy of Dermatology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Lipoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 24, 2014. Accessed August 15, 2014.
Lipomas. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic%5Fdisorders/benign%5Fskin%5Ftumors%5Fgrowths%5Fand%5Fvascular%5Flesions/lipomas.html. Updated November 2013. Accessed August 15, 2014.
Lipoplasty. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction.html. Accessed August 15, 2014.
Salam GA. Lipoma excision. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65:901-904.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 05/11/2013
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