Trusted Diagnosis and Treatment for Subcutaneous Lipomas

The appearance of lumps or growths underneath the skin can be stressful and worrisome, but there are solutions that can help you regain your health and confidence.. Our compassionate, honest medical team will provide a personalized treatment plan for subcutaneous lipomas and other skin concerns.

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William Hanner D.O.

Surgeon and Founder

General Surgery
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What Causes Lipomas to Form

The cause of lipomas is unknown, but there may be genetic factors involved. They tend to run in families, so if you have relatives who have had lipomas, be sure to share this information with your doctor.

What Is a Subcutaneous Lipoma?

A lipoma is a fatty lump of tissue that grows between the skin and muscle. These subcutaneous lumps are fairly common, grow slowly, and most often are noticed during middle age between the ages of 40 and 60. Most people develop only one lipoma at a time, but it’s possible to have more than one as well.

Symptoms of Lipomas

There are some common signs that a skin growth is a fatty, subcutaneous lipoma, including:

  • Location — Lipomas most often show up just beneath the skin—in the neck, shoulders, back, torso, arms, or thighs.
  • Feel — Subcutaneous lipomas are soft, feeling somewhat doughy, and are easily moved when touched.
  • Size — Lipomas are usually small—less than two inches. But over time, they can get larger.
  • Tenderness — Lipomas can press on nerves or muscles, which can cause they to feel painful.

Are Lipomas Cancerous?

Lipomas are nearly always benign and noncancerous. But in rare cases, a form of cancer called liposarcoma can occur. It grows in fatty tissue and can mimic the appearance of benign lipoma. So, any skin lumps that grow quickly or are painful should be checked by a doctor and biopsied.

Schedule A Consultation

Take control of your health and your life by choosing medical providers who are caring and concerned, open and honest. Set up a consultation visit today to see firsthand the compassionate care you will receive from our skilled and friendly team.

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How Are Lipomas Diagnosed?

Lipoma in a surgeons hand after removal

To determine whether  a skin lump is a subcutaneous lipoma, a sebaceous cyst, liposarcoma, or some other condition,  your doctor will perform various tests, such as:

  • Physical examination — Most often, a physical exam is sufficient to diagnose a lipoma.
  • Imaging — A CT scan, MRI, or X-rays may be taken if the lump is painful, large, or is suspected to be impinging on a nerve or muscle.
  • Biopsy — If the lump has unusual features or is painful, a biopsy may be taken to eliminate the possibility that it is a liposarcoma rather than a subcutaneous lipoma.
A lipoma being pointed out under the skin of a patient

Treatments and Prognosis for Subcutaneous Lipomas

Once a doctor has evaluated your lipoma, there are different approaches to treatment:

  • Surgical excision — If the lipoma is causing discomfort, it may be cut out and removed in the doctor’s office.
  • Liposuction — With large lipomas, it may be possible to insert a needle and remove the fatty tissue that lipoma contains. Since this procedure doesn’t fully remove all the tissue, it’s possible the lipoma will return. Therefore, surgical removal is the preferred procedure.
  • Watching and waiting — If the lipoma is small and is not causing any concerns, you and your doctor may agree to monitor it.

The outlook for those who have a lipoma is very good. They don’t normally invade other tissues, making them contained and easy to treat. Once they are removed, they don’t usually grow back, and they can be excised with a small cut, leaving minimal scarring.

Schedule a Consultation 

Lipomas are easily diagnosed and treated, meaning there’s no need to continue living with a worrisome and uncomfortable lump in your skin. Our compassionate, honest team of medical professionals will give you clear answers about your condition and help you choose the treatment that fits you best, so you can enjoy lasting health. Set up a consultation visit today!

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