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Lipoma: Symptoms and Treatment

By HERWriter
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Lipoma is a harmless non-cancerous (also known as benign) fatty growth which grows between the muscle and skin. Lipoma is a slow-growing mass and it may grow for years before it becomes noticeable. Most importantly, lipoma does not turn into cancer.

Women are less prone to lipoma than men. Lipoma is rarely found in children. Lipoma usually appears during your 40s to 60s. According to CNN, people with the following disorders may be predisposed to lipoma.

• Adiposis dolorosa

• Madelung disease
• Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome
• Cowden syndrome
• Gardner syndrome

Also, those with obesity are prone to lipoma.

For many, lipoma is a harmless unattractive growth or mass. According to the National Institutes of Health, ʺa lipoma can develop in almost any organ of the body although they are most commonly found in the subcutaneous layer just below the skin. ʺ

Lipoma can grow anywhere on your body. But, they are prone to the following areas:

• Back
• Neck
• Shoulders
• Arms
• Head

Unfortunately, there is currently no way to prevent lipoma and the exact cause of lipoma is unknown. But, lipoma has a history of running in the family.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Harvard Medical Teaching Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, symptoms of lipoma include:

• Painless lump, but tender to touch
• Lipoma feels rubbery or doughy
• The size of lipoma is usually less than two inches
• Lump can be the size of a pea to a grapefruit
• The lump will be soft and able to be moved around
• If frequently irritated, lump will be red and painful
• In rare cases, the lipoma may cause pain (usually because it is over a nerve)
• You also may have more than one lipoma at a time

If your lump is painful to the touch or grows rapidly, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor or healthcare provider can usually diagnose lipoma just by touch and feeling the mass. During your visit, your doctor may ask the following questions:

• Is the lump painful?
• When did you first notice the lump?
• Have you had similar growths in the past?
• Have you noticed if it's grown at all?

Also, your doctor may take a biopsy of the mass just to confirm the diagnosis or they may request a CT scan or MRI.

Doctors do not generally treat lipoma because they are non-cancerous. However, there a few possible options to treat lipoma. Those options include:

• Liposuction
• Surgery
• Steroid shots


Lipoma - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Home- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Lipoma - What is a lipoma? What causes a lipoma? What are the symptoms of a lipoma? How are lipomas diagnosed? - Skin, Hair and Nails. Health Information, Resources, Tools & News Online - EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Lipoma. CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/lipoma/DS00634.html.

Lipoma - Symptoms, Causes, Treatments - Better Medicine. BetterMedicine.com - Health and Medical Information You Can Trust. - Better Medicine. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Lipoma - arm: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia Image. National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/1209.htm.

Lipoma Excision - March 1, 2002 - American Family Physician. Home Page -- American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0301/p901.html.

Lipomas -- familydoctor.org. Health information for the whole family -- familydoctor.org. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/articles/763.html.

Reviewed October 5, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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