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Lipoma

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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A lipoma is a lump of fatty tissue that develops under the skin. A lipoma lump is movable under the skin, feels soft or slightly squishy, and is not painful. It is known as a tumor, but we should be clear - it is not cancer, and does not spread or cause harm anywhere else.

More information

Lipomas are common, and they are not harmful and usually require no treatment. They can slowly get bigger over time, and they are more commonly found on the back, chest, shoulders, arms, and upper legs but can sometimes be found in other places, like on the face. You can get lipomas removed under local anesthetic (so you won’t be put to sleep). Lipomas are not contagious and cannot be passed on to others.

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor if you develop a lump that you suspect to be a lipoma. This is so that your doctor can confirm it is a lipoma, as there are many other causes of lumps, with a small number of these being serious. You should also see your doctor if you have a diagnosed lipoma, but it has grown quickly, has become painful or hot, is no longer movable, or it has changed significantly in any way.

What will my doctor do?

The doctor will ask you about your lump, when you first noticed it, and any other symptoms. They will also ask you about your medical history and any relevant family medical history. They will then examine the lump and, if necessary, send you for further investigations such as a scan if they are unsure whether it is a lipoma or not. If a lipoma is confirmed, it is likely you will not require any treatment. If you would like the lump removed for cosmetic reasons, your doctor can help recommend where you can get this done.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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