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Disease: Lipoma Lipoma
Category: Surgical diseases
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Disease Definition:

A slow-growing, fatty tumor that is situated between the skin and the underlying muscle layer is called a lipoma. A lipoma moves readily with slight finger pressure, because of this, it is easy to identify. It is doughy to touch and usually not tender. A person may have several that persist for years. Although lipomas are usually detected in middle age, they could occur at any age.

Usually, a lipoma is harmless and it isn't cancer. Generally, it doesn't require treatment. However, a person could have it removed in case it is in a bothersome location, is painful or is growing.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Some of the signs and symptoms of a lipoma may include:

A lipoma moves easily with slight finger pressure, and it feels soft and doughy.

Located just under the skin, a lipoma is a flattened lump. Lipomas usually occur in the back, arms, thighs, shoulders and neck.

In case lipomas grow and press on nearby nerves, or if they contain many blood vessels, they could be painful.

Although lipomas could grow large and reach more than 10 centimiters (4 inches) across, they usually remain small, less than 5 centimeters (2 inches).

People may have a lipoma for years before they notice it, because it usually grows slowly.


What exactly causes lipomas is still not known. Lipomas could sometimes be detected after an injury. However, whether they're caused by the trauma or their detection was jus incidental is not certain. It is likely that genetic factors play a role in their development, because lipomas tend to run in families.





Usually, a lipoma doesn't need treatment. However, a person could have it removed if the lipoma is in a bothersome location, is painful or is growing. Some of the treatment options for lipomas may include:

In this method, to remove the fatty tumor, a needle and a large syringe will be used. If a lipoma is in a location where the affected person wants to avoid a large scar, liposuction could be performed. Removing the entire tumor with this technique is quite difficult.

Steroid injections:
Although this treatment doesn't eliminate the lipoma completely, it shrinks the tumor.

Surgical removal:
The best way to get rid of a large lipoma is by surgically cutting it out. Recurrences are uncommon after removal.


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