Why do I have so many lipomas and why are they so painful? (photos)

I have over 70 on my legs and arms. The larger ones are on my legs and are not noticeable unless I wear shorts. Problem is that they are very painful. I saw a general surgeon who said he would remove a cluster of lipomas on the inside of my right thigh, but nothing else. I was never given any real diagnosis either. I'd just like to know why I have so many and why they are so painful. I am a 39 year old female with type 1 diabetes. Any recommendations?

Doctor Answers 2

Why do I have multiple lipomas

You most likely have the diagnosis of familial lipomatosis. Lipomatosis is believed to be a dominant trait in which multiple lipomas are present. Most are discrete, encapsulated lipomas on the trunk and extremities
Although this condition is benign, many patients concerned with cosmesis seek removal of individual tumors. Treatment can include simple excision, endoscopic removal, or liposuction if large. 
Find the most qualified plastic surgeon to take care of this problem.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Why do I have so many lipomas and why are they so painful? #Lipoma

I don't have a clear answer but multiple lipomas such as you describe are exactly that - multiple and, often, painful.  That's because unlike single lipomas, which are typically made of loose, fatty tissue, the multiple form is usually denser, with more fibrous and vascular tissue and, upon pathology examination, are often called angiolipomas.

As far as removing them, when I have a patient with this many we try to do it all at once - although that may require a trip to the hospital and general anesthesia (it's too painful to do that many at once under local anesthesia).  This many could probably be done in 2 or 3 sessions in the office setting - that depends on you, your pain tolerance, etc. 

But they can certainly all be removed. I'd suggest that you seek additional opinions from board-certified plastic surgeons.

Sorry for the discomfort you're having but I hope that this has helped, and good luck,

Dr. Alan Engler
Member of RealSelf100

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.