Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Lipoma
A lipoma is a growth of fat
cells in a thin, fibrous capsule usually found just below the skin. Lipomas aren't cancer and don't turn into cancer. They are
found most often on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and armpits, but
they can occur almost anywhere in the body. One or more lipomas may be present
at the same time.
Lipomas are the most common noncancerous soft tissue
The cause of lipomas is not
completely understood, but the tendency to develop them is inherited. A minor
injury may trigger the growth. Being overweight does not cause lipomas.
Often the most bothersome symptom is the location or
increased size that makes the lipoma noticeable by others.
A lipoma can usually be
diagnosed by its appearance alone, but your doctor may want to
remove it to make sure the growth is noncancerous.
Lipomas usually are not treated, because most of them don't hurt or cause problems. Your doctor may order an imaging test, such as an ultrasound. Or your doctor might remove the lipoma if it is painful, gets infected, or bothers you.
Most lipomas can be removed in the doctor's office or
outpatient surgery center. The doctor injects a
local anesthetic around the lipoma, makes an incision
in the skin, removes the growth, and closes the incision with stitches
(sutures). If the lipoma is in an area of the body that cannot be easily
reached through a simple incision in the skin, the lipoma may need to be
removed in the operating room under
Lipomas occur in all
age groups but most often appear in middle age. Single lipomas occur with equal
frequency in men and women. Multiple lipomas occur more frequently in
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofFebruary 5, 2016
Current as of:
February 5, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital