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Lipoma – Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors & Types

The lipoma is a slow-growing and fatty lump which is most often situated between the skin and the underlying muscle layer. The lipoma, which feels doughy and usually, it is not tender, moves readily with slight finger pressure. Usually, lipomas are detected in the middle age. There are some cases when people can have more than one lipoma.

The lipoma is not cancer and usually, it is harmless. Usually, the treatment of lipoma is not necessary, but if the lipoma bothers you, is growing or it is painful, then you can remove it.

There are very rare cases when people develop a lipoma which is size around 2 – 3 cm. There, are very rare cases when people develop a lipoma which is more than 10 cm. Your doctor can remove the lipoma surgically. Before you want to make some kind of operation to your lipoma, you need to talk with your doctor so you can be sure that you need to do surgery. Usually, doctors recommend making surgery if the lipoma is causing pain or other symptoms or if the person wants to remove the lipoma for cosmetic reason.

There are some studies which are shown that about 1% of people have lipomas and the most commonly happen between 40 and 60 years old. Fatty tumours can be benign or cancerous. Experts are not able to agree on whether or not lipomas themselves can become cancerous. [1]

If you noticed that your lipoma becomes painful, gets larger or it changes in any other way, then you should talk with your doctor as soon as possible. There are natural remedies for lipoma removing, but you need to talk with your doctor before you start with any kind of treatment, because they can cause side effects.

Symptoms of Lipoma

Lipoma - Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors & Types

It is known that lipomas can happen anywhere in the body. They are typically:

Generally small

Typically, lipomas are less than 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter, but they can grow.

Soft and doughy to the touch

Lipomas can move easily with slight finger pressure.

Situated just under the skin

The lipoma commonly happens in the thighs, arms, abdomen, back, shoulders and neck.

Sometimes painful

It is known that lipomas can be painful if they grow and they press the nearby nerves or if they have many blood vessels.

In rare cases, lipomas are a serious medical condition. If you notice a lump or swelling anywhere on your body, then you should talk with your doctor to check it.


The cause for lipoma is not fully understood. It is noticed that the lipoma tends to run in families, so genetic factors are playing a role in their development. Some people inherit a faulty gene from their parents which can cause one or more lipomas. This is rare and it is known as familial multiple lipomatosis. Lipomas can happen more frequently in people who have specific conditions, such as

Adiposis dolorosa [2]

Madelung’s disease [3]

Cowden syndrome [4]

Gardner’s syndrome [5]

Also, there are some studies in which are said that some lipomas can result from an injury which is involving a substantial impact on the area.

Risk factors

It is very common for people to develop lipomas. There are some studies in which are noticed that around 1% of people have a lipoma. Those people who have a family relative with one or more lipomas have increased the risk of developing lipoma [6]. There are some factors which can increase your risk of developing a lipoma, such as


It is noticed that lipomas tend to run in families. [6]

Being between 40 and 60 years old

It is known that lipomas can happen at any age, but they are most common in people who are between 40 and 60 years old. [1]

Also, there are other factors which can increase the risk of developing lipoma, such as

Glucose intolerance

Liver disease

Diabetes [7]

High cholesterol

Obesity [8]


There are many subtypes of lipomas, such as

Superficial subcutaneous lipomas

Spindle – cell lipomas

Pleomohphic lipomas

Neural fibrolipomas lipomas

Intradermal spindle cell lipomas

Hibernomas lipomas

Corpus callosum lipomas

Chondroid lipomas

Cerebral pontine angle and internal auditory canal lipomas





[1] Saint Luke’s. Understanding a lipoma. Retrieved from

[2] Beltran K, Wadeea R, Herbst KL. Infections preceding the development of Dercum disease. IDCases. 2020;19:e00682.

[3] National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD). Madelung’s disease. Retrieved from

[4] Caliskan A, Kohlmann WK, Affolter KE, et al. Intramucosal lipomas of the colon implicate Cowden syndrome. Modern Pathology. 2018;31:643–51.

[5] Fotiadis C, Tsekouras DK, Antonakis P, et al. Gardner’s syndrome: A case report and review of the literature. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2005;11(34):5408–11.

[6] Genuardi M, Klutz M, Devriendt K, et al. Multiple lipomas linked to an RB1 gene mutation in a large pedigree with low penetrance retinoblastoma. European Journal of Human Genetics. 2001;9:690-4.

[7] Suzuki Y, Tsukuda K, Taniyama M, et al. Lipoma and sensory neuropathy in mitochondrial diabetes associated with tRNA mutation at position 3271. Diabetes Care. 2002;25(2):407-8.

[8] Schepens Eye Research Institute. “Obesity gene” causes cancer of fat tissue, Schepens scientists find. Science Daily. 2000. Retrieved from

Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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