Does Weight Affect Lipoma Growth?

I have DOZENS of Lipoma, predominantly on my thighs, but even on my shins. I have some on my arms as well. Most are the size of a quarter or a bit larger. I've had three removed (tested and benign) and have scars.

I'm only 38 but my legs look bubbled and awful, even under pants! Does weight have anything to do with their formation? Do they get better or worse with weight loss/gain? Someone told me whacking them with a BIG book helps..OUCH! PLEASE tell me my best treatment options, I'm desperate!

Doctor Answers 3

You have one of the multiple lipoma syndromes. There is...

You have one of the multiple lipoma syndromes.

There is not a whole lot you can do about it. The "someone" whose therapeutic suggestion is to whack them with a book is terribly uneducated about the nature of lipomas. This might work in that game in the amusement park (Whack a Mole) but will do nothing for your lipomas but give you pain. Some friend this person sounds like!

Weight loss will not help. Starvation will make them shrink a bit actually, but not to a noticeable extent. . (This has been studied).

You might have them removed with liposuction since it seems that you have the multiple lipoma syndrome. The contents can be sent off to pathology to reaffirm the diagnosis.

You most likely fall into one of the multiple lipoma syndromes. I would consult with your dermatologist and he/she can help pigeon-hole you into the proper group.

I assume you do not have Dercum's Disease since you did not mention pain. This is called Adiposis Dolorosa (Via Dolorsa is the Way of Suffering in the Old City of Jerusalem where Jesus walked while carrying the Cross). This is rare, favors middle-aged obese people and usually occurs in menopausal women.

If your lipomas are symmetric then you might have Madelung's Disease or Benign Symmetric Lipomatosis. This is even more uncommon than the prior dosorder and ins characterized by numerous , symmetric, non-tender, poorly demarcated fatty tumors usually on the scalp, neck and upper arms and legs. People with this syndrome have a strange "horse-collar appearance. This syndrome is worsened by demon rum, in fact most of these people are alcoholic men.

Getting into the areas of more probability: Familial Multiple Lipomas are transmitted in an autosomal dominant fashio with incomplete penetrence. That means if one of your parents have them, you may or may not have brothers or sisters with them. In this syndrome you might have hundreds of small , discrete, slowly growing, asymptomatic, subcutaneous lipomas of various sizes. The most occur on the extremities, mostly on the forearms.

If they are universally tender you may have the rare familial angiolipomatosis syndrome.

Finally, if your case does not fit into any of the above syndromes you have idiopathic multiple lipomas, a condition which occurs sporadically.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Multiple Lipomas Attributes and Treatment

You most likely have the diagnosis of familial lipomatosis (other family members will have the same problem). 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 they may increase with weight gain, weight loss doesn't improve them in my experience.
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. Liposuction, whether laser Liposuction or traditional will leave some of the lipoma cells behind which over time will probably recur though it may take years.
Find the most qualified plastic surgeon with experience with this problem to take care of you.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Lipomatosis and multiple lipoma removal

This is likely a genetic condition characterized by multiple lipomas, or lipomatosis.  Surgery is your only option.  I would choose a surgeon who performs minimal scar lipoma removal. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 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.