A non-cancerous tumor in the subcutaneous tissue under the skin which consists of slowly growing fat cells is known as a lipoma. It is the commonest type of soft tissue tumor. Over several years, the growth continues. Although they are more noticeable during the middle age, but can occur in people of any age. Single or multiple lipomas may occur in a person. It equally affects both the sexes. However, multiple lipomas are more common in men while women frequently show solitary lipomas.

Causes of lipoma:The actual cause of lipoma is still unknown. In patients with lipomas, a familial incidence is often noticed which indicates a genetic reason for lipomas. In some people, an injury such as a blunt blow to a body part, may trigger the growth of lipoma. Lipoma is not dependent upon the weight of an individual.


Signs and symptoms: Being a non-cancerous tumor, lipoma is usually not harmful. Most of the lipomas occur with no symptoms; symptoms are not seen until they become large enough to be palpable and visible. When pressure is applied, some of these lipomas are painful. Angiolipomas is a type of lipoma which are painful or tender. They show a large number of small blood vessels. The lipomas can occur in any fat including part of the body, even internal organs, but most common sites are shoulders, trunk, neck, and arms. Pain is rarely caused by the lipomas. However, an individual may experience pain if nerves are pressed by the lipomas.

Types of Lipoma

Some varieties of lipoma include conventional lipoma, myelolipoma, atypical lipoma, hibernoma, angiolipoma, pleomorphic lipoma and spindle cell lipoma.

Spindle cell lipoma is a slow-growing, asymptomatic subcutaneous tumor which occurs in older men on the posterior back, shoulders, and neck areas. This type of lipoma is often easily mistaken for a liposarcoma. A rare form of fatty cancer, called liposarcoma, never affects the skin. They mostly arise on groin, thigh or at the back of the abdomen.

Abdominal lipomas: Gut wall may be affected by lipomas, causing problems such as gut blockage or pain.

Breast lipoma is a malign, usually solitary tumor which consists of mature fat cells. Diagnostic uncertainity is often caused by this form of lipoma.

Although neck tumor is a benign tumor but it is not regarded to be much serious. Such a lump may also indicate liposarcoma. THerefore, it is important to make sure that no serious medical condition caused this lump.

Lipoma treatments:

The benign nature of lipoma does not necessitates for a treatment procedure. It should be removed only when the tumor painful or limits movement. The removal of lipoma mainly involves cosmetic reasons or extended growth or distinguishing from dangerous type of tumor such as a liposarcoma.

In most cases, after a certain period, the growth of lipomas stops and they remain indefinitely without affecting the body parts. However, some lipomas which interfere with the movement of the adjacent muscles, require lipoma removal surgery. The treatment methods available for lipomas are:

  • Simple surgical excision of lipomas using squeeze technique: Over the lipoma, a small incision is made to squeeze out the fatty tissue.

  • Liposuction: In this method, the fatty lump is removed through a needle and a large syringe.

  • Steroid injections: This treatment procedure just shrinks the lipoma without completely eliminating the tumor.¬†

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