Can a Doctor Confirm a Lipoma by Just Touch?

I have several plump up on my back.My doctor touched it and said it was a lipoma. Can a doctor confirm a lipoma by just touch? Do I need any further inspection?

Doctor Answers 5

Lipomas are fatty tissue deposits

Lipomas are fatty tissue deposits. Most experienced dermatologists or dermatological surgeons can feel them and know if it's a lipoma or other fatty-type cyst just by touch. The only way to know for sure, though, is to take it out and send it to a lab.

Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Lipoma diagnosis

For the most part, lipomas have a very specific look and feel on exam and most surgeons and even primary care doctors feel comfortable making the likely diagnosis based on exam.  Some patients seem to be little lipoma factories and there are inherited syndromes that can lead people to develop a multitude of them.  They very rarely turn into anything serious.  So, most of the time, I remove them if they are painful, getting large, functional in the way, or cause great anxiety for the patient.  They can always be sent for pathology to confirm the diagnosis.

Jennifer Lauren Crawford, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Lipoma diagnosis

Lipomas can range from very small to massive, and they can appear anywhere on the body.  Most experienced doctors can diagnose a lipoma with high probability by feel alone.  Smaller lipomas can generally be removed under local anesthesia in an office setting.  Larger lipomas or lipomas in difficult areas may require a trip to the operating room to remove.


Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Diagnosing a Lipoma (Fat Cyst)

Most well-trained dermatologist can diagnose a lipoma by touch.  They can occasionally be confused with other types of skin growths like sebaceous cysts.  The good news is that lipomas are benign in nature.  The best way to get a definitive diagnosis is by sampling it or removing it entirely and sending it to lab to be checked (biopsy). 



Channing R. Barnett, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Lipoma by touch

most physicians can diagnose a lipoma by touch. palpation of most superficial lipomas are quite easy although sometimes they can be confused for certain types of cysts. But in general they can be easily diagnosed by physical exam.  occassionally an ultrasound  can aid in the diagnosis. they only 100 percent way to be certain however is by biopsy, either excising a piece or all of the mass.

however, a mass felt to be a lipoma by physical exam and verification with ultrasound is near 99.9% correct in experienced hands.


Dr ruekl states it more succintly in tha the only way to know for sure is to take it out and send it to the lab.

Timothy Mountcastle, MD
Ashburn Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 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.