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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a benign tumor of fatty tissue. Benign means the tumor is not cancerous. The cause of lipomas is unknown. Some types of lipomas may run in families.
What are the signs of a lipoma?
A lipoma is a round, soft, rubbery lump of tissue that grows very slowly under the skin. Lipomas can form anywhere in your body, but are usually found on the back, shoulders, neck, abdomen, arms, buttocks, and thighs. Lipomas move around underneath your skin when you press on them.
How is a lipoma diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask you when you noticed the lipoma, and if it has changed in size. He will also ask if you have any other symptoms. Your healthcare provider will examine your lipoma. He may also take a sample of tissue and send it to a lab for tests. This procedure is called a biopsy. You may need imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI, if the diagnosis is unclear or you have pain.
How is a lipoma treated?
You may not need any treatment if the lipoma does not bother you. Your healthcare provider may recommend regular follow-up visits to check the lipoma for any changes. You may need surgery to remove the lipoma if it is large, painful, or causes other symptoms. This surgery is called an excision. Your healthcare provider will make an incision over the lipoma. He will then remove the lipoma and close the incision with medical tape or stitches. A sample of tissue from the lipoma may be sent to a lab for tests.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- Your lipoma is getting bigger.
- Your lipoma causes new or increased pain.
- You develop new symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.