Lipomas

Lipomas

Lipomas are harmless, painless, soft nodules consisting of fat cells (adipose tissue) that grow superficially under the skin. They are the most common soft-tissue growths on human body and range in size from 1 to greater than 10 cm. Lipomas are slow-growing and are most common on the trunk, shoulder, and arms; however, lipomas can occur almost anywhere. Although lipomas are typically painless, they can cause pain if they grow on or near a nerve or blood vessel, or if they are subject to frequent trauma or manipulation. Many patients have more than one lipoma, but in some cases, patients can have a genetic condition called familial multiple lipomatosis that causes multiple lipomas.

Most lipomas do not require treatment because of their subtle and benign nature. If necessary, an ultrasound can be used to help distinguish a lipoma from an epidermoid cyst or a ganglion cyst. Treatment can be offered for cosmetic reasons or for large, fast-growing, symptomatic, or firm lipomas. Surgical excision of fatty tissue and fibrous capsule is done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia. An opening is made in the skin through which the lipoma is completely removed. The side effects include bleeding and scarring at the surgical site. Any collected specimen should be submitted for pathological evaluation by a trained dermatopathologist to rule out worrisome mimickers. Alternative treatment options include liposuction or injection of deoxycholate (Kybella), a substance that dissolves fat. A referral to a dermatology surgeon or general surgeon might be needed for larger lesions, and the excision might require general anesthesia.

Talk to our dermatologists for symptomatic or growing and changing growths anywhere on your body. A customized treatment plan can be formulated for you.