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Lipomas

by Denise M Aaron, MD

Lipomas are soft, movable, subcutaneous nodules of adipocytes (fat cells); overlying skin appears normal.

Lipomas are very common, benign, and usually solitary, but some patients have multiple lipomas. Common sites are the proximal extremities, trunk, and neck. Multiple lipomas can be familial and/or associated with various syndromes.

Lipomas are usually asymptomatic but can be tender or painful. A lipoma is usually easily movable within the subcutis. Lipomas are generally soft, but some become firmer.

Diagnosis is usually clinical, but a rapidly growing lesion should be biopsied.

Treatment is not usually required, but bothersome lipomas may be removed by excision or liposuction.

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