Merck Manual

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Lipomas

By

Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Medically Reviewed Jan 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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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 (eg, genetic disorders).

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 of Lipomas

  • Clinical evaluation

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

Treatment of Lipomas

  • Excision or liposuction if bothersome

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

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