Lipomas: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

May 20, 2018     

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Lipomas are small, accumulated fats that form a lump, mostly in the upper body of a person. These are common in people, with about one in every thousand persons could suffer from these. They are, however, categorised as tumours, but are harmless in most cases. Lipomas are usually soft, bulgy and occur under the skin. They are a lump of fats that accumulate and starts growing on the soft tissue of the body.

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They are the most common type of a tumour known in medical science, but as mentioned earlier, they are harmless and easily treatable. There are several speculated causes for lipomas, but nothing has proven to be the actual cause yet.


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Lipomas occur, at random and could form on anyone’s body. There is no actual known cause yet, but medical science suspects the following reasons, of what could cause it –

  • The family could be a reason, as there might have been multiple cases where many members of the family have been reported to suffer lipomas.
  • Middle-aged, men and women usually get it more than any other age group.
  • Injuries of various kinds could lead to a lipoma formation, but yet there is no proof of the same, just speculation.
  • People suffering from Madelung’s disease could be prone to lipomas.
  • Alcohol consumption is also known to aid the formation.
  • Lipomas could also be a result of family inheritance, from a member who might have had it.


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Lipomas are easy to spot on our bodies, as a small lump growing anywhere, mostly on the upper body could not be difficult to miss. Although, here are some symptoms for people to get to the doctor for treatment of lipoma.

  • Soft, rubbery lump(s), about 2-inches wide.
  • Sometimes there could be more than one
  • A doughy feeling when pressed
  • Painless, but if pushed harder it could pain

Visit the Doctor

While Lipomas are harmless, you should always consult a doctor once you notice the lump. There are, however, rare cases in which the lipomas grow inside the muscles or even internal organs, in that case, the doctor will look to remove the lipoma.
There is a kind of cancer known as liposarcoma, which is known to multiply inside the body, causing pain. Liposarcoma is, however, a very rare condition, but if the doctor suspects of it, then there will be more tests conducted and subsequent treatments.

Treatments for lipomas

In many cases, the doctor can tell if the lipomas is a general one, needing no treatment at all or is it the kind that requires removal. Doctors usually suggest leaving the lipoma as it is, but many patients would want to get rid of it, as it may harm their appearance or diminish their self-confidence.

Doctors use methods to shrink the fat to a smaller size than before. In the case of removal of lipomas, doctors numb the affected area with medication, and remove the lump. Doctors could also deploy a liposuction using cannulas, which are essentially thin tubes. The cannula will then be used to suck the fat out of the affected area.

In some cases, the size of the lipomas could be more significant than the usual 2-inches lipomas, and these lipomas are known as ‘Giant’ Lipomas’, often spoiling your physical appearance. Doctors usually give the patients anaesthesia or something that will put them to sleep during the procedure to remove it. Even though size of the lipoma has no association with pain, yet, if our lipomas are painful, it’s an indication that they need to be removed.


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Lipomas, if removed are part of a small procedure and would not require the patient to be at the hospital or stay longer. They usually could go home after surgery, but would necessarily need someone to accompany them.

In cases, where there is a ‘giant Lipoma’ sometimes, patients might have to stay back at the hospital, as they are administered with anaesthesia during the removal procedure.
Either way, be it a small procedure or a more complex one, follow-ups are necessary, in most cases to remove stitches or further recovery methods.

Lipomas are usually harmless and could form anywhere in the body, mostly in the upper areas. They are soft, rubbery lump(s). While doctors typically suggest in leaving them alone, patients might feel uncomfortable carrying the chunk around, as it might harm their appearance or make them self-conscious about its presence. The removal process, on the other hand, is a simple one and takes only a few hours to solve the problem, barring cases that are complicated and need extensive care/surgery.

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