Do Lipomas Always Continue to Grow?

I'm 25 years old and just got diagnosed with multiple lipomas in my mid to lower back. They are generally small right now, and only cause a little pain here and there. I have noticed most form on my hip bone, and one or two are next to my spine. Should I have these removed now? How quickly do they grow? Do they always get bigger? I don't want scarring, nor do I want them to start showing! Also, will I get lipomas elsewhere on my body? Please help!

Doctor Answers 13

Lipoma enlargement

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If the lipomas are not removed, they will continue to grow. You may have lipomatosis given the presence of several masses.  If this is the case, you could develop other lipomata in other areas of your body. The smaller the lipoma, the shorter the surgical scar.  On your lower back, which is not subject to continuous sun exposure, the scars should fade over time.

Removing lipomas with small scars

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Lipomas are best removed early, before they enlarge.  That is the best way to ensure that the scars are minimized.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Do lipomas continue to grow?

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In most cases, lipomas do tend to enlarge over time. For this reason, we often recommend removal of lipomas while they are small. While most lipomas can be diagnosed without surgery, another advantage of removing the lipoma is to obtain a tissue diagnosis by the pathologist. 

Any time an incision is made in the skin, a scar will be present, but treating a lipoma early gives the best change to minimize scarring as the incision required to remove the lipoma will be smaller. Many patients with lipomas tend to get multiple lipomas in various parts of their body, but there is no way to definitively predict this.

All the best,

Matthew Richardson, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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Multiple Lipoma Behavior

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You may 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. Most grow very slowly over your life time.
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.


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may get larger over time but it is hard to know this.

most people with lipomas will have more than one and their course is unpredictable.  in order to get rid of them you need them surgically removed so yes, you will have a scar.

some people have good success with "lipo-dissolve" which is an all-natural combination of phosphatidyl choline and deoxycholic acid (natural substances present in the body) injected into the lipomas.  this will not leave a scar.


Craig Crippen, MD
Kelowna Physician

Lipoma growth

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Lipomas are benign growths that are unpredictable, that is to say just like any mole, a lipoma may either stay the same size it is now, or potentially grow, but no one can predict what will happen to it. If it bothers you, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can safely remove it surgically for you (local anesthetic), and the scar is typically much smaller and nicer than the large lipoma lump.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Management of growing lipomas

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Lipomas are lobules of exuberant fatty tissue proliferation that come about because of combination of genetic predisposition and/or trauma. However, lipomas typically do not grow and those that do should undergo excisional biopsy to rule out epidermal inclusion cyst, reactive or malignant lymph node, or very rarely liposarcoma.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Multiple lipomas are common

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Multiple lipomas are commonly seen. These are benign fatty growths.They are of different varieties, fibro-lipomas, angio-lipomas, some are well encapsulated, some are not.

They can grow or remain as is for long time. if there is sudden growth theen these have to be removed. Surgical removal is preferable because then they are sent for pathology. Removing a lipoma by surgery WILL LEAVE A SCAR. That is the trade off.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Lipomas are not predictable, but are benign

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Whichever plan you decide to pursue will be all right.

Lipomas are benign fatty growths that do not grow quickly, but of course they must grow from somewhere, so they do grow. If a lipoma is small, does not show without touching it, and is not painful, I recommend generally leaving it alone. Sometimes blood vessels may mix into a lipoma (angiolipoma), in which case it is still benign, but may be more painful at times. These are more appealing to remove, depending on how much they bother you. Lipomas can generally be removed through a scar MUCH smaller than the lipoma itself, if you go to a careful skin surgeon (dermatologic or plastic surgeon). Some lipomas have deep origins in the muscle, and therefore are difficult to remove completely without risk of recurrence.

Depending on how close the lipomas are to your spine, I would consider removing those for prevention of pressure on the muscles and nerves in your back. The hip lipomas are more optional, and depend mostly on whether they show. You are a young woman so this may matter more to you than it would to say, an older gentleman who is unlikely to have this area show in a bathing suit.

It is possible that you have a tendency to make multiple small lipomas, so it's hard to predict if you will get more in other areas. You may not.

At any time, removal is optional, but if you do decide to pursue it, I would recommend removing the most bothersome one alone first, to see how it heals and what kind of long term scar forms. If that scar is not a problem for you, it will give you more information about what to do next. Of course, any tissue that is removed should always be sent for pathologic review to make sure the lipoma is just that.

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Lipomas Generally Do Not Grow

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Lipomas are common benign fatty deposits. These do not grow. Occassionally a lipoma can grow a lot and start causing pressure symptoms in its vicinity. In these cases it should be removed for comfort, relief of symptoms and to establish its histopathology (biopsy).


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 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.