What is Lipoma? Types, Risks, and Treatment

what is lipoma

What is Lipoma?

A lipoma is a non-cancerous fatty tissue that is formed under the skin. It is a soft lump of tissue and a rubber-like structure. It moves from one place to another when touched. It is considered a tumor but usually doesn't cause any harm to the body. However, if the lipoma causes discomfort to your body, you can get a proper lipoma treatment to remove it.

Lipomas are usually formed in the middle age of the people and are most common in the age of 40-60. They are mostly formed in the upper part of the body and thighs. As per the medical reports, 1 out of 1000 people develop a lipoma in their life.

What Causes Lipoma Under the Skin?

The actual causes of lipoma are not clear in the medical field. Doctors are also unsure how the lipomas are formed. However, it is believed that they are usually seen after an injury or as a result of genetic disorders. They are also developed as a result of some rare conditions such as Dercum's disease, Gardener Syndrome, and so on.

Some other common causes of lipoma are as follows -

Workout Routine

Doctors believe that lipomas are usually formed in people who are physically not fit or inactive. Therefore, a proper exercise routine can help to reduce the probability of developing a lipoma.

Age Factor

Though there are no specific age criteria for the development of Lipoma. But, it is majorly seen developing in the age of 40-60 years.

Certain Medical Conditions

A person can also develop a lipoma if he has the following medical conditions -

a. Dercum's Disease - This disease is also known as Ander's Syndrome. It can cause painful lipomas on the arms and legs.

b. Gardener Syndrome - It is also known as familial multiple lipomatosis. It is a genetic disease which passes from the members of the same family.

c. Madelung's Disease - This disorder is most commonly seen in people who consume alcohol in excess. It causes lipomas around the neck and shoulder area. It is also known as multiple symmetric lipomatosis.

Different Types of Lipoma

Doctors classify lipomas based on how they look and where they occur in the body. The most common thing in all types of lipoma is that all of them consist of fats. Several types of Lipomas based on such classification are as follows -

1. Conventional Lipoma

This is the most common type of lipoma. They are caused because of the bad cholesterol and fatty acids that you consume. They consist of white fat cells.

2. Fibrolipoma

This is the hybrid form of lipoma. It consists of fatty tissues along with the fibrous tissues. This lipoma is harder than the conventional lipoma.

3. Hibernoma

It consists of brown fatty tissues. It is formed due to excess calorie intake. The positive side of this lipoma is that it helps to keep the body warm during winter.

4. Giant Lipoma

As the name suggests, this is a huge-sized lipoma that weighs more than 1 kg and is 10 cm wide.

5. Angiolipoma

This is a painful lipoma that is formed due to the presence of excess blood vessels.

All the types of lipomas discussed above are characterized based on their shapes and sizes. What kind of lipoma you have is not easily determinable. All these are superficial and are formed on the surface of the skin.

How to Diagnose and Confirm the Presence of Lipoma?

Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body. They are soft and can be easily moved with a slight finger pressure. they can be painful or painless. Most people are unable to recognize their lump as lipoma. However, your doctor can perform lipoma diagnosis by the following methods -

• A physical examination

• Removal of tissue as a sample.

• An imaging test such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. The doctor usually follows this method if the lipoma is large, deep, and has some abnormal features.

It must be noted that the chances of a lipoma being cancerous are rare, and an MRI or CT scan is performed to detect cancerous lipoma.

Risks and Side Effects of Lipoma

There are no such major side effects of lipoma, and they are not that risky except when they are large and cause discomfort. Also, if you get the treatment of lipoma in the form of its removal, then there are chances of getting an infection and bleeding. You may also get the lipoma back in your lifetime.

Various side effects of lipomas are as follows -

• Lipoma can bother you if it is large and situated near the nerves. They can also cause discomfort or pain.

• As they are formed beneath the skin, they can restrict the movement of certain parts of your body.

• Lipomas may also cause infection and inflammation in your body.

• They can also cause numbness and weakness in your body by compressing your nerves.

When Should You Consult a Doctor?

In most of the cases, lipomas do not cause harm to your body and disappear themselves. But you can consult a doctor if they grow rapidly and cause pain and discomfort to your body. If you suspect the lump is any other kind of tissue growth or the lipoma has developed in the sensitive area, then you can also consult a doctor to confirm it.

You must note that it is not correct to attempt to remove lipoma at home. Therefore, you must get proper treatment of lipoma if you feel some unusual symptoms.

What Are the Lipoma Treatment Options Available?

Generally, lipomas do not require any treatment. When you think that it is painful and unusual, you can get it treated. The only treatment option available for lipoma is surgery. This surgery helps to remove the lipoma, and the entire process is simple, safe, and effective. You do not need to stay in the hospital for a long time and can go back home the same day. On the other hand, steroid injections can be taken to reduce the inflammation caused in the body.


  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15008-lipomas
  2. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/lipoma
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482343/
  4. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/lipoma