Lipoma

DermNetNZ.org

About Lipoma

A lipoma is a slow growing fat (adipose) tumour that is covered by a thin fibrous capsule found within the skin. Up to 1% of the population have lipomas making them relatively common. Lipomas can arise at any age, but usually occurs after early adulthood. A lipoma feels soft and mobile under the skin and does not usually cause symptoms such as pain or irritation.

A lipoma is non-cancerous and treatment is not necessary in most cases, however people may find it unsightly and request removal of these bumps. Lipomas are not only found under the skin, they can also be found within your internal organs such as the intestines, heart and brain. There is a condition called Madelung disease where there are multiple lipomas located in the upper body, and the patient will likely have a history of diabetes and alchoholism.

Treatment of Lipoma

There are several techniques for lipoma removal. Most small lipomas can be removed under local anaesthesia as a minor surgical procedure. For small superficial lipomas, a small incision is made over the skin and applying pressure on the sides of the incision site squeezes the lipoma out. This ‘popping or squeezing technique’ has a faster healing time and advantage of a smaller scar. For larger lipomas, a larger incision may be needed to remove the lipoma from the surrounding tissue. Liposuction is another method for removing lipomas, but ironically liposuction causes lipomas in some instances.