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Lipoma

(Fatty Tumor)

Definition

A 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.
Benign Tumor
benign tumor
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Lipomas have no known cause. They may be related to a previous injury to the tissue.

Risk Factors

Factors 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

Symptoms

Lipomas are usually soft, painless, moveable lumps under the skin. They usually don't cause symptoms.

Diagnosis

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 biopsy to rule out other skin conditions.

Treatment

Talk 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

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 http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

Dermatologists.ca http://www.dermatologists.ca

References

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.

Revision Information

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