Dermatologists and Skin Care Data Verified

Lipoma - Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Published on Apr 07, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 14, 2023   -  5 min read


Lipoma is a soft lump that is present beneath the skin layer. Read the article to know its causes, types, symptoms, diagnosis, risk factors, prevention, and treatment.

What Is a Lipoma?

A lipoma is a fatty lump, which is a very slow-growing mass commonly seen between the skin and the muscle below the skin layer. It is usually benign and does not convert to cancer. A lipoma that grows very fast and or is painful should be consulted with a physician and may require a biopsy. They can occur in any age group but are usually seen in middle-aged people.

What Can Cause Lipoma?

The cause of lipoma is unknown. There is a link between lipoma and genetics, so they seem to run through the families. Injuries like a blow is also a common cause that triggers the growth of lipoma.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lipoma?

The signs and symptoms of lipoma may include:

  • A lipoma is usually present underneath the skin.

  • It develops as a small and soft lump, which is usually less than two inches wide.

  • They are colorless.

  • They move quickly with the finger.

  • When you press on the lipoma, it may feel like a dough-like consistency.

  • They are usually not painful but can be painful when pressing on the organs, joints, nerves, or blood vessels running through them.

  • It is simple to identify a lipoma since we can move it very easily.

  • They are usually small but can grow larger.

  • Lipomas that are present deeper under the skin cannot be easily seen and felt.

  • Lipoma can be present in any part of the body, like the neck, shoulders, forearms, thighs, and arms.

  • Deep lipoma can most commonly put pressure on the nerves or the internal organs. For example, it can cause constipation, nausea, and vomiting if present near or on the bowels.

  • Lipoma usually does not cause any pain, but angiolipoma can be more painful than a regular lipoma.

What Are the Types of Lipomas?

What Are the Risk Factors for Lipoma?

1. Men are more likely to get multiple lipomas than females, but both sexes are equally likely to get lipoma.

2. Genetics.

3. They are commonly seen in people with medical conditions like:

4. Other risk factors that can cause lipoma are:

  • Diabetes mellitus.

  • Obesity.

  • Liver disease.

  • High-cholesterol.

  • Glucose intolerance.

How to Diagnose Lipoma?

The techniques used to diagnose lipoma are:

Diagnosis of Lipoma

What Are the Treatment Options for Lipoma?

The lipoma is rarely harmful, and it usually does not require any treatment unless it is bothering you. Sometimes the lump which resembles a lipoma can be a cancerous condition called liposarcoma. The liposarcoma is a cancerous tumor that multiplies on the fatty tissues that do not move under the skin and are usually painful. Lipoma need not be removed as they are not cancerous and cannot become cancer, but they need to be removed if they have the following symptoms:

  • Tender or painful.

  • Inflamed or infected repeatedly.

  • When the lipoma drains a foul-smelling discharge, we should surgically remove it.

  • When interfering with any function or movement, we should remove it surgically.

  • Size increases.

  • Annoying or unsightly.

What Are the Steps Involved in Surgical Removal of Lipomas?

  • Local anesthesia will be injected around the lipoma by the surgeon.

  • An incision is made in the skin.

  • The lipoma is removed.

  • The incision is closed with the sutures.

  • When the lipoma is present in the area where it cannot be reached with a simple incision, it should be removed using general anesthesia.

What Are the Other Methods Used to Remove the Lipoma?

  • Liposuction - This is the method that uses a large syringe and a needle to take out the fatty lump, and it is complicated to eradicate the lipoma.

  • Steroid Injections- These are used to shrink the lipoma, but cannot remove it.

  • Bitter Foods and Herbs- These will increase the body’s capacity to digest the fats in the body like a lipoma. These bitters will stimulate the liver and gallbladder to metabolize the fats. Bitter herbs used are wormwood, gentian, rue, yarrow, centaury, southernwood, boneset, and goldenseal. And the bitter foods commonly used are dandelion greens, citrus peels, unsweetened chocolates, and olives.

  • Chickweed- This chickweed tincture is available in the herbal store. Taking one teaspoon of this chickweed tincture three times a day can help reduce the lipoma. Chickweed ointment is also available in the herbal store, which should be applied once a day over the affected area.

  • Lemon juice - Drinking water containing lemon juice will help remove toxins from the body by stimulating and strengthening the digestive system and purifying the liver.

  • Cedars - Apply cedar ointment three times daily on the affected area and massage over it. Then add five drops of cedar extract to two teaspoons of water and have it three times daily.

How to Prevent Lipoma From Occurring?

Causes and Prevention of LipomaThe best way to prevent lipoma are:

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.

  • Doing regular exercise.

  • Eating healthy foods.

  • Avoid consumption of alcohol.

When Should You Seek Medical Help if You Notice a Lipoma?

Seeking medical help is needed in the following conditions:

  • The size of the lump rapidly increases.

  • There is a recurrent infection.

  • A foul-smelling discharge from the lump.

  • When there is pain and tenderness associated with the lipoma.


When you see swelling or a lump in your body, you need to check it with a doctor. Check whether it is a harmless lipoma or something else that needs to be treated or removed. Rarely, a lipoma can be formed in the internal organs or more in-depth into the muscles, but if it occurs and causes pain, it needs to be removed.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Causes a Lipoma?

The exact cause of lipoma is unknown. However, lipomas might be genetic, where a person is at a high risk of having lipoma if their family members are known to have it. Frequent injury to a site is also suspected of causing lipoma.


Is It Mandatory to Surgically Remove a Lipoma?

Lipoma does not usually require any treatment. However, if it keeps growing or if it becomes painful and bothersome, your doctor may recommend surgically removing it.


Can Lipomas Turn Into Cancer?

No, lipomas are not cancer, and they do not increase the risk of cancerous transformation.


Can Weight Loss Remove Lipomas?

Lipomas are known to increase in size when a person gains weight. But, weight loss does not usually decrease the size of the lipoma.


Are Lipomas Hard or Are They Soft?

Lipomas are harmless and soft benign tumors that do not usually require any treatment.


Can a Lipoma Burst?

Lipomas are fat cysts that are harmless benign soft tumors, and they do not usually burst.


How Do You Know If You Have Lipoma?

Lipomas usually develop during middle age. They can feel like a small soft mass under your skin that readily moves if touched with your finger. Lipomas are usually painless.


When Does a Lipoma Hurt?

Lipomas are usually painless, but in certain instances, if a lipoma has many blood vessels or when a lipoma presses against a nerve fiber, it can cause pain.


Can Lipoma Be Cured Naturally?

Some natural healers claim that they can cure lipoma with natural remedies like plants and herbs like white cedar tree extracts. However, there is no evidence to prove its role in cure.


Can Lipomas Get Attached to Muscles?

Most cases of lipomas are free to move under the skin. However, some lipomas can get attached to skeletal muscles.


What Can Happen if I Do Not Treat Lipoma?

Lipomas are harmless, soft, benign tumors, and they do not usually require any treatment. They do not cause any significant harm if left untreated except for some unesthetic bumpy appearance.


Are Lipoma Surgeries Painful?

You might feel slight pain at the site of surgery for a few days that usually subsides in a few weeks.


What Lipomas Are Considered to Be Large?

Lipomas are slow-growing benign tumors, and they rarely reach 2 cm. If a lipoma reaches 5 cm, then it is considered to be a giant lipoma.

Last reviewed at:
14 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

What could be the tiny lump above my hip that hurts on pressing?

Query: Hi doctor, I am 21 years old, male, 5'9", 105 kg. When I woke up, I felt a tiny lumped mass on the back just above left hip. Only hurts when pressed hard. I am anxious. Could it be constipation?  Read Full »

What causes a cyst near clitorial hood?

Query: Dear doctor, I have noticed a lump the size of a grape on the outer left side of my clitoral hood; that was not there during the last two or three days. It is painless, hard, no irritation or color change, no strange or closed discharge. But it is huge and getting bigger every day. Any general idea...  Read Full »

What could a bump on one side of rib cage be?

Query: Hello doctor, Just this morning my brother told me he had pain in his ribs the day before and it seemed a bit weird this morning too. But, he did not have any pain. There seems to be a weird bump on one side of his rib cage. What could be wrong?  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Lipoma or ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.