What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a slow growing benign tumour composed of fat found in the subcutaneous tissues, just below the skin. Most often found on the torso, neck and upper thighs and arms where there is plenty of fatty tissue. However they have also been found growing inside body organs such as the heart, brain and lungs.
Lipomas occur in 1% of the population and can occur at any age, although most arise around middle age, and are seen predominately in women.
Lipomatosis is a diagnosis of multiple lipomas and affects mainly men.
What causes lipomas?
The tendency to develop lipomas is hereditary and they are also more common in the overweight and the old. They can sometimes grow after an injury in the affected area.
What are the signs of lipomas?
Lipomas can be felt under the skin as soft smooth lumps and have a rubbery consistency. They can grow to a large size. Symptoms do not generally involve pain however the lipoma may be itchy. They are not tender and move easily with finger pressure.
What is the treatment?
Generally there is no treatment necessary as they are not cancerous growths. However they may be unsightly and grow to a large size.
Your doctor may easily surgically remove the lipoma if it becomes painful, infected or increases in size.