What are the Symptoms of Lipoma?

Lipoma is slow growing lump of fatty tissue that is generally present in between skin and underlying muscle. It is a non-cancerous tumor/growth of fatty tissue and usually harmless. A person may have more than one lipoma at a time. It can occur to anyone at any age. It can occur in any part of the body surface. However, it is more common in middle age. Usually no treatment is required for lipoma, unless it bothers you or it becomes painful or it starts growing or it is cosmetically unacceptable or it may be pressing on some structure.

What can cause lipoma?

The cause of lipoma is not known. However, there may be some genetic factor in its cause, as it has been observed to run in families.

What are the symptoms of lipoma?

The symptoms of lipoma includes,

  • A lump is the most common symptom. It is a fatty lump/tumor, which is not cancerous and harmless. It is usually not painful.
  • Lipoma is generally situated just below your skin and above muscle layer. It is most commonly seen in neck, back, abdomen, shoulders, thighs and arms.
  • It is soft and doughy to touch. It moves easily on touch/pressure with finger.
  • The size is usually less than two inches or five centimeters. However, they can grow to much bigger size at times.
  • Lipomas are usually painless. However, they may cause pain sometimes, especially when they press on underlying nerves or if they have many blood vessels.
  • Although lipomas usually occur superficially just below skin, sometimes, they can be present in much deeper tissues and even bigger than usual.

When should one see a doctor for lipoma?

If you notice any swelling in your body, you shoucl consult your doctor. You must consult your doctor if lipoma/tumor bothers you or if it causes pain or it starts growing or if it causes some mechanical problem or cosmetic problem, you should see your doctor and decide if you should remove it surgically. It can be easily removed by surgery, generally under local anesthesia and done as outpatient procedure at doctor’s clinic/hospital.

Are you at risk of developing lipoma?

You have higher risk of developing lipoma if you,

  • Are between 40 and 60 years of age.
  • Anyone of your first-degree relative have lipoma.
  • You have certain medical conditions such as, adiposis dolorosa, Cowden Syndrome, Gardener’s Syndrome etc.


Image courtesy of [Ambro] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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