Lipomas have no known cause. They may be related to a previous injury to the tissue.
Factors that may increase your chance of a lipoma include:
Lipomatosis, a hereditary condition that results in lipomas all over the body
Adiposis dolorosa, a rare condition that results in painful lipomas
Lipomas are usually soft, painless, moveable lumps under the skin. They usually don't cause symptoms.
Your 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
to rule out other skin conditions.
The lump does not need to be treated. Some may want it removed. Treatment options include:
Injections to reduce the size of the lipoma
Laser treatment (given under the skin) to remove the lipoma
Surgical excision—lipomas are cut out
Liposuction—removes excess fat from under the skin
There are no current guidelines to prevent lipoma.
Lipomas. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/benign-skin-tumors-growths-and-vascular-lesions/lipomas. Updated June 2016. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Lipoplasty. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction.html. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Salam GA. Lipoma excision. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(5):901-904.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 9/2/2015
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