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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury


A lipoma is a common, benign (non-cancerous) soft, fatty lump under your skin. It can occur anywhere on your body but common sites are your arms, back of your neck, trunk and thighs.

You may have a single lump (solitary) or several lumps (multiple). They're usually harmless.

Health professionals do not know what causes a lipoma but there may be a genetic link as they can run in families. Sometimes an injury such as a knock to your body can cause a lipoma to grow.

Lipomas affect males and females equally though solitary lipomas are more common in women and multiple lipomas are more common in men. Anyone can get a lipoma at any age but they're more common in adults.

Symptoms of lipoma

A lipoma is very slow growing, it often grows over several years. A lipoma commonly has the following signs:

Diagnosing lipoma

Your GP can usually diagnose a lipoma by examining the lump.

Sometimes you may need to have further investigations such as an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan or a biopsy.

Treating lipoma

You do not usually need treatment for a lipoma. If it is causing you problems, for example pressing on a nerve or being unsightly, or it needs removing so it can be looked at under a microscope, it will be removed. This will be done through a minor operation or liposuction.

Getting help for lipoma

If you're worried about a lump under your skin, get your GP to have a look.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2021.


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Review key: HILIP-136384