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Lipoma

Lipoma

A lipoma is a growth of fatty tissue that slowly develops under your skin. Common locations include upper back, shoulders, and abdomen. A lipoma can be described as a rubbery bulge that feels like it can move. Lipomas tend to grow slowly, often over a period of months or years. In less common cases, they may also form in internal organs, bones, or muscles. People of any age can develop a lipoma, but children rarely develop them.

 Signs and symptoms of Lipoma may include

  • Lipoma usually appear as small, soft lumps. They're typically less than 2 inches wide.
  • It's usually painless unless they affect joints, organs, nerves, or blood vessels.
  • Lipoma is only painful if it compresses nerves underneath the skin.
  • Can move slightly if pressed with a finger.

 Types of lipomas

  • Angiolipoma - This type contains fat and blood vessels. Angiolipomas are often painful.
  • Conventional - The most common type, a conventional lipoma contains white fat cells. White fat cells store energy.
  • Fibrolipoma - Fat and fibrous tissue make up this type of lipoma.
  • Hibernoma - This kind of lipoma contains brown fat. Most other lipomas contain white fat. Brown fat cells generate heat and help regulate body temperature.
  • Myelolipoma - These lipomas contain fat and tissues that produce blood cells.
  • Spindle cell - The fat cells in these lipomas are longer.
  • Pleomorphic - These lipomas have fat cells of various sizes and shapes.

Preparing For Your Lipoma Surgery

Please shower and wash with an antibacterial soap before your surgery. If you are having sedation, you need to come in with an empty stomach, which means nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours or more. It is important to tell your doctor what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

Post Operative Activities

  • You can put ice on the scalp area over the dressing tonight.
  • You may have pain, swelling, or bruising where the lipoma was removed. These symptoms should get better in a few days.
  • You can expect some local swelling and a lumpy feeling under the incision. This is normal.

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Frequently Asked questions


The causes of a lipoma are unknown. It is possible that they are caused by a physical trauma. However, it is unclear whether the trauma causes a lipoma to form, or if the lipoma is discovered simply as a result of medical attention to that area of the body.
A lipoma is nearly always benign, meaning it is not cancerous and will not develop into cancer. There is a very rare form of cancer known as liposarcoma that occurs within fatty tissue and may look like a deep lipoma. A lipoma that grows quickly or is painful should be checked out by a doctor, and may need a biopsy.
While both lipomas and cysts can look similar, cysts are usually smaller, slow growing, and found on the head and neck. Lipomas can be larger, are also generally slow growing, and often appear on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks, and thighs.
Generally small Lipomas are typically less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter, but they can grow. Sometimes painful. Lipomas can be painful if they grow and press on nearby nerves or if they contain many blood vessels.
You will be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing, but you should not feel any pain. General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your healthcare provider will make an incision in your skin and remove the lipoma.
Though lipomas are not dangerous, many people opt to removed for cosmetic reasons. Surgical excision is the only cure for lipomas, and the tumors will not go away without treatment.
Lipomas can develop almost anywhere in the body. They are located directly under the skin, commonly in the neck, torso, upper arms, upper thighs and armpits.
Lipomas are generally located on the surface of the body, surgical removal does not cause much trauma to the body. For stitched wounds, the wound will take 10 to 14 days to heal. We ask you to be generally restful through this period by avoiding heavy exercise or anything strenuous. Recovery is very rapid, patients can go home the same day as their surgery. Further, patients can generally resume daily activities the very next day.
Lipomas rarely grow back after lipoma treatment, but another one may grow in a different spot on your body. During surgery, the area around the lipoma is numbed. If you have a deep lipoma, you may need medicine to numb a larger area (regional anesthesia).
No treatment is usually necessary for a lipoma. However, if the lipoma bothers you, is painful or is growing, your doctor might recommend it’s removal. For good advice and care, visit our clinic in Manchester, Preston or Chester where our cosmetic surgeon will guide you properly.

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