Lipoma Removal Overview

A lipoma is the most common noncancerous benign form of soft tissue growth. It is a growth of fat cells usually found just below the skin. Lipomas are most commonly found on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and underarms.

What is a lipoma?

Lipomas grow slowly and are thought to be related to a physical trauma, although this isn't known for sure. They are characterized as tumors but are different than other types of fatty tumors that are cancerous. Lipomas differ significantly from lipomas in terms of growth pattern, invasion into adjacent structures, and timeline of growth.

Lipomas are diagnosed based on a medical examination and review of your medical history.

In many cases, lipomas can be removed as they sit just beneath the skin but above the muscle.

Lipomas are more likely in certain people and may have a genetic component. However, trying to tell an individual whether or not he or she will develop one is difficult. There isn't any documented way of predicting or preventing lipomas.

How do I remove a lipoma?

Since lipomas are noncancerous, they do not require any treatment. However, if a lipoma becomes bothersome, infected, or continues to grow, you may choose to have it removed. The most common way to remove a lipoma involves your doctor simply making an incision over the tumor, or perhaps a short distance away in a more hidden area, and removing the tumor.

Liposuction has been used in the past, especially for those on the forehead or face, and doctors have used an endoscope to remove lipoma on the face through a hairline incision.

Using liposuction or lipodissolve will not get all of the tumor, and even though most are benign, and the lump could still remain. Absorption of fat damaged by lipodissolve or another form of injection would be unpredictable and most doctors do not recommend this procedure.

What are the potential complications of lipoma removal?

The problem with non-surgical removal (including liposuction) is that tissue will be left behind, causing possible cosmetic effects and possible regrowth. In the rare case of liposarcoma (a malignant lipoma) the non-surgical techniques could significantly complicate the problem.

Was this guide helpful? Thanks for your feedback

See what the community has to say about Lipoma Removal.

Still have questions about Lipoma Removal? Ask a doctor.