What causes a lipoma?

The reason why some people develop lipomas is not known, although family history appears to play a role. You are more likely to develop a lipoma if you have a parent or sibling with a lipoma. People who develop more than one lipoma may have an extremely rare inherited disorder called familial multiple lipomatosis.

Lipomas can also grow in subcutaneous tissue that has been injured or traumatized.

What are the risk factors for a lipoma?

Certain factors and diseases are thought to increase your chances of developing a lipoma. However, not all people with risk factors will develop the condition. Lipomas can develop at any age, although they are rare in children and are most common in middle-aged people between ages 40 and 60.

Common risk factors for lipomas include:

  • Dercum disease (also known as adiposis dolorosa, which causes multiple painful lipomas and other serious problems, such as mental health and neurological issues)
  • Family history of lipomas
  • Familial multiple lipomatosis (rare inherited condition involving the development of multiple benign lipomas)
  • Gardner syndrome (rare inherited condition involving noncancerous or precancerous tissue masses that form in and under the skin and in different organs)
  • Middle age and older
  • Previous soft tissue trauma

What is a lipoma?

A lipoma is a benign lump or mass that is made up of fat cells (adipocytes). Lipomas are a common, benign (noncancerous) type of slow-growing tumor and are the most common benign tumors situated under the skin. They most often develop just under the skin in the subcutaneous tissue, located beneath the skin and above the muscle. Lipomas can grow large in size, and multiple growths can devel... Read more about lipomaintroduction


What are the symptoms of a lipoma?

The symptoms of a lipoma typically include the formation of a lump or multiple lumps under the skin. Lipomas typically grow slowly, and you may not even notice the appearance of a lipoma for years. The most common sites for lipomas include the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms or legs, but they can also grow on your internal organs.

Most often, lipomas are relatively small, abo... Read more about lipomasymptoms


How is a lipoma treated?

Most lipomas do not require treatment. Generally, they are only removed if they are painful or grow too quickly. You may also need to have lipomas removed if they cause serious cosmetic problems that interfere with your ability to have a normal life.

Once a lump under your skin is diagnosed as a benign (noncancerous) lipoma, your physician or health care provider will determine yo... Read more about lipomatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

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