(Clinical photos at the bottom of the article)
1. A lipoma is a growth of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule usually found just below the skin. It grows very slowly. Lipomas are the most common noncancerous soft tissue growths.
2. Lipomas are found almost anywhere in the body in both sexes.
3. One or more lipomas may be present at the same time. Some people have multiple lipomas. I have one patient whose body is covered with lipomas (see picture below). Multiple lipomas occur more frequently in men.
4. The cause of lipomas is not completely understood, but the tendency to develop them is inherited.
5. Being overweight does not cause lipomas.
6. Lipomas can occur at any age, but they’re most often detected during middle age.
7. A lipoma isn’t cancer and is usually harmless.
8. If the lipoma is in a location that bothers you, is painful or is growing, you may want to have it removed.
9. There is no known treatment to prevent lipomas.
10. A lipoma can usually be diagnosed by its appearance alone, but your doctor may want to remove it to make sure the growth is noncancerous. Often the most bothersome symptom is the location or increased size that makes the lipoma noticeable by others.