Lipomas are very common and usually harmless lumps beneath the skin. Around one in one-hundred people develop lipomas, making them a common skin lesion. Although usually harmless, you may want to remove a lipoma if it is a a cosmetic concern. Thankfully, the removal process is generally very simple.
What is a lipoma?
Lipomas are soft, fatty lumps that can be found growing under your skin. They are usually harmless and prone to appearing on areas of the skin where fat cells are present. A lipoma can be found most commonly on the following areas of the body:
A lipoma is a common, non-cancerous tissue growth and feels almost rubber-like in consistency. A degree of self-diagnosis can be carried out (you should be able to move the tissue growth around beneath the skin) and while they’re typically not painful, professional consultation is advised upon discovery.
Who gets lipomas?
Lipomas are very common, with around one in one-hundred people developing them at some stage during their lives. Finding more than one lipoma is fairly uncommon unless your family has an inherited condition known as ‘familial multiple lipomatosis’.
Why have lipoma removal surgery?
You may wish to have a lipoma removed if it’s large or located in a place which is obvious and impacting upon your self-esteem. Some lipomas also cause discomfort and this may lead to seeking removal.
If you’re bothered about a lipoma, we recommend seeking confidential advice from the Skin & Scar Clinic.
What happens during lipoma removal?
Lipoma removal is a relatively simple procedure where a local anaesthetic is injected around the growth. This is done to make the surgical removal of your lipoma painless.
Following the incision, the lipoma is separated away from the surrounding tissue. It is then removed and the skin subsequently stitched in order to minimise any scarring or marks.
If the lipoma is very large or located on a part of the body that isn’t readily accessible, it may be advised that removal is undertaken using general anaesthesia in a medical operating theatre.
When should I seek professional advice?
We recommend contacting us for a consultation if you find a lump on your body that is either painful, growing, feels hard or has grown back following surgical removal.
If there is ever any doubt about a growth on your skin, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.
The difference between lipomas and cysts
It’s relatively easy to mistake a cyst for a lipoma, but there are a few ways to tell the difference:
Cysts are normally found close to the surface of the skin, whereas lipomas are usually located much deeper.
Cysts can become inflamed resulting in a red, painful and swollen appearance, unlike lipomas.
Lipomas are soft, dough-like and can be moved around under the skin, unlike cysts which are usually firm to the touch.