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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Lipoma

(Fatty Tumor)

Definition

A lipoma is a harmless lump of fat under the skin. They can form anywhere on the body
Benign Tumor
benign tumor
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The cause is not known. It may happen after an injury.

Risk Factors

Lipomas are more common in people who are between ages 40 and 60 years. They also tend to run in families.

Symptoms

Lipomas are soft lumps that may move when touched. They often do not cause problems unless they press on a nerve or have many blood vessels.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the lump. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
A biopsy may be done to confirm it is not another problem. Images may also be taken. This can be done with CT scan or MRI scan.

Treatment

The lump does not need to be treated unless it causes problems or the person wants it removed. This can be done with:
  • Injections to make the lump smaller
  • Laser treatment
  • Liposuction to remove the fat
  • Surgery

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent lipoma.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Dermatology
http://www.aad.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
https://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dermatology Association
http://www.dermatology.ca
The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
http://www.plasticsurgery.ca

References

Common benign skin lesions. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/common-benign-skin-lesions. Updated February 5, 2018. Accessed December 2, 2019.
Lipomas. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/benign-skin-tumors-growths-and-vascular-lesions/lipomas. Updated May 2019. Accessed December 2, 2019.
Moreno-Ramírez D, Ruiz-Villaverde R, et al. A. process of care for patients with benign cysts and tumors: Consensus document of the Andalusian Regional Section of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV). Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2016 Jun;107(5):391-399.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019
  • Update Date: 08/05/2020