Lipoma FAQ

Lipoma FAQLipoma Frequently Asked Questions (Lipoma FAQ)

Here are some frequently asked questions about Lipoma for those that have been newly diagnosed or those that are looking for answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Lipoma?

A Lipoma is a local buildup of fatty tissue noticed for the first time usually under the skin. This fatty tissue buildup happens within a fibrous capsule, which slowly fills with fatty deposits and may grow larger over time. Lipoma’s typically feel soft and can be felt to move slightly under your skin when you press on them. A lipoma can occur in any part of the body where there are fat cells.

Is Lipoma Cancerous?

No. Lipomas are not cancerous. They are benign fatty tumors and do not contain cancer cells. They do not spread through the body like a malignant cancer would.

Can a Lipoma Develop into a Cancer?

No. Lipomas can’t develop into a cancer.

Are Lipomas Contagious?

No. Lipomas are not contagious. They can’t spread through the body and can’t spread from one person to the next like virus and bacteria can.

Where Do Lipoma Growths Occur?

A lipoma can appear and grow in any part of the body where there are fatty cells. Common areas where you will find Lipoma growths are the trunk, back, shoulders, neck, arms, and upper thighs. Lipoma growths can occur anywhere on the body, but there are places where their appearance is more common or likely. They commonly vary in size from pea size to several centimeters in diameter.

What Causes Lipoma?

Nobody actually knows exactly what causes Lipomas to form. Experts say there maybe a genetics predisposition to Lipoma. All we really know about Lipoma is that they are filled with fatty deposits, but the reason for why this occurs is still to be determined. Lipomas can appear in areas where trauma has occurred. So a bump on the skin can cause a lipoma to form in some people.

What are the Risk Factors to developing a Lipoma?

1. Risk of getting a lipoma tends to increase as you age. Its most common in the 40-60 age group.

2. Conditions that may pre-dispose you to developing a lipoma are:
– Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome.
– Madelung syndrome.
– Adiposis dolorosa.
– Cowden syndrome.
– Gardner syndrome.

3. Lipomas are generally considered to be linked to your genes as it has a hereditary link.

4. Obesity can increase risk of a lipoma developing.

5. Sudden trauma such as a heavy blow to the skin can cause a lipomas to form in some people.

Is Lipoma Common?

Anyone can develop a lipoma at any age but some people are more predisposed to getting lipomas. Lipomas are common – about 1 in 100 people develop one or more lipomas in their lifetime. Some people inherit a tendency to develop lipomas and may have several on different parts of the body. Sometimes as many as 20 or more develop. However, it is more common to develop just one or two. Lipomas can occur in people who are normal weight as well as people who are overweight. They can develop in both men and woman.

What are the symptoms of a Lipoma and are they harmful?

In themselves, lipomas are not serious and most lipomas cause no symptoms or problems for most that have them. They grow very slowly. Sometimes a lipoma under the skin can be unsightly if it grows to be several centimeters across. Rarely, a lipoma may press on another structure and cause problems. For example, if one presses on a nerve it may cause pain. Also, rarely, a lipoma may develop in the gut wall and cause problems such as pain or a blockage of the gut. Sometimes a scan or other investigation that is done for other reasons may detect a lipoma inside the body by chance. There is a condition called familial multiple lipoma in which groups of fat cells occur under the skin and then produce multiple fatty lumps. This is an uncommon condition and runs in families.

Why are some Lipomas Painful?

Lipomas can become painful if they put pressure against adjacent nerves or blood vessels. This can cause inflammation and pain or discomfort.

Are the Lipoma Lumps Permanent?

Yes. Generally a Lipoma will not go away if left untreated.

When should I see a Doctor if I suspect a Lipoma?

Small Lipomas growing under the skin are rarely a health concern. However, a lump under the skin is not always a lipoma. These lumps can be other types of tumors that can be cancerous. So its always a good idea to have any lump checked out by your doctor. If it turns out to be a lipoma, thats the good news. If a lipoma starts to become painful, this is also a reason to see your doctor as the lipoma will likely be touching surrounding nerves, blood vessels, muscle tissue and if not addressed could grow larger and become a health concern. So if you lipoma starts to hurt, see your doctor.

Should I Have Lipoma Surgery?

Because Lipoma is not a cancer, there is no medical reason to have them surgically removed except if they cause blockages or pain. Sometimes, Lipoma growths may block or damage nerves, which can cause discomfort and damage to the body, in which case surgery maybe required. In most cases, surgery is performed for cosmetic reasons.

How is Lipoma Diagnosed?

As your caregiver examines you and the area around the suspected lipoma he/she may ask you about any signs or symptoms you may have had recently. Based on your caregivers recommendation you may need one or more of the following diagnosis methods:

  • An ultrasound: Using sound waves to look into the lipoma tissue.
  • An X-ray: This maybe used to look into muscular tissue and other internal areas of the body.
  • A CT or CAT scan: Using X-ray to look into the suspicious area where a lipoma maybe present.
  • An MRI scan: Using magnetism to take a picture of the lipoma and surrounding tissue.
  • A biopsy: Some tissue is removed from the lipoma and analyzed.

Note that most doctors can diagnose a lipoma by sight and touch and with asking a few questions. However, there have been reports of mis-diagnosis where the lipoma was actually a cancer tumor. So if you want to be sure, you will need to ask your doctor that you would like to undergo a more detailed analysis with one for the methods above for a definitive diagnosis.

Can Lipomas be Removed Permanently?

Yes. There are many proceeders that allow for the removal of a Lipoma. These are: Excision Surgery, Laser Therapy, Liposuction, Steroid Injection. The most commonly used method is surgical removal. Most lipoma surgeries are quite simple processes if the lipoma is easily accessible and not in a concerning area or not too large. Generally they can be domain with a scalpel blade and local anesthetic by an experienced caregiver or surgeon. If the lipoma is internal of close to concerning areas like the spin or neck, major surgery maybe needed.

Can Lipoma Re-occur after Removal?

Yes. Unfortunately, some lipomas can grow back after removal and this will depend on the kind of treatment that was performed. Surgical excision is the most effective form of removal that has the least chance of the lipoma growing back. With liposuction, some of the lipoma can be missed, allowing for the lipoma to grow back.

How Can I Treat My Lipoma Preventatively?

Since Lipoma growths are in most cases not a really health concern, there is no reason to rush into an invasive procedure such as a surgery. Make sure you get your doctors advice on the best course of treatment. Many health experts say that Lipomas can be treated or even prevented through a properly adjusted diet which involves a careful selection of foods, herbs, fats and supplements that aid in ridding the body of Lipoma Grows and help to prevent further occurrences of Lipomas. Many of these methods are listed throughout this website and you can start to find out more on natural lipoma treatments by visiting our Lipoma Guide page. We will also be launching our own guide soon so please join our mailing list to be informed when it is released.

I hope these questions and answers have helped you. Please comment below with any questions or ask a question via this form.

Chris Baldwin, PhD
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My name is Chris Baldwin and I am the person running the show behind Lipoma NET. I have an extensive background in scientific research with a PhD in Medicine. I have created Lipoma NET to bring you information about lipoma and related conditions. Subscribe to my newsletter and I will make sure you stay up to date with all the latest news and developments on Lipoma!
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