Lipoma Causes and Diagnosis

What are some lipoma causes? Are lipomas genetic? Is there any way I can tell if I will probably get lipomas like my dad, or are they preventable?

Doctor Answers 3


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Lipomas are the most common benign tumor;  they are composed of adipose tissue. Sometimes these soft,  usually mobile  masses can grow in size and become an aesthetic or functional concern.

Malignant transformation of lipomas into liposarcomas  it's extremely rare ( and controversial).

Generally, I  recommend excision to allow for pathologic evaluation (which is the only  way to make a definitive diagnosis).

Lipomas are not necessarily hereditary but there are some extremely rare  hereditary conditions ( familial multiple lipomatosis).

 I hope this helps.


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Some lipomas are familially linked. I have operated on three generations of one family. Other patients have lipomatosis, with many lesions forming each year.  I have operated on a few patients so regularly that my staff consider them good friends!  We can't predict whether you will develop them like family members but the key is that you know the signs and that early treatment is the wisest course.

The cause of lipomas is not well understood

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Lipomas are more likely in certain people and probably in certain families. Trying to tell an individual whether or not he or she will develop them in not an exact science however. They are not preventable and there is no activity of which I know that will predispose towards them or prevent their development.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

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