by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A lipoma is a harmless lump of fat under the skin. They can form anywhere on the body
The cause is not known. It may happen after an injury.
Lipomas are more common in people who are between ages 40 and 60 years. They also tend to run in families.
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.
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.
The lump does not need to be treated unless it causes problems or the person wants it removed. This can be done with:
There are no current guidelines to prevent lipoma.
American Academy of Dermatology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Dermatology Association
The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
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:
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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.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 8/5/2020