Lipomas or benign fatty lumps are relatively mobile rounded lumps under the skin which range in size and sometimes can be quite large and deep. They are normally a slow-growing, fatty lump that’s most often situated between the skin and the underlying muscle layer. A lipoma, which feels doughy and usually isn’t tender, moves readily with slight finger pressure.
A lipoma is benign and not a cancer and usually is harmless. Treatment generally isn’t necessary, but if the lipoma bothers cosmetically, is painful or is growing, it may be removed.
Lipomas can occur anywhere in the body. They are typically:
1. Situated just under the skin. They commonly occur in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms and thighs.
2. Soft and doughy to the touch. They also move easily with slight finger pressure.
3. Generally small. Lipomas are typically less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter, but they can grow.
4. Sometimes painful. Lipomas can be painful if they grow and press on nearby nerves or if they contain many blood vessels.
The cause of lipomas isn’t fully understood. They tend to run in families, so genetic factors likely play a role in their development.
No treatment is usually necessary for a lipoma. However, if the lipoma is bothersome cosmetically, is painful or is growing, it may be recommend that it be removed. Lipoma treatments include:
1. Surgical removal. Most lipomas are removed surgically under local anesthesia.
2. Liposuction. This treatment uses a surgical technique to suction out the lipoma as it is fatty tissue. The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia.