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What are lipomas?

Lipomas are benign (non-cancerous) growths made up of fat cells. They are one of the most common types of soft tissue tumors. Lipomas can develop in various areas of the body, but they most commonly occur just beneath the skin.

Lipoma just underneath the skin of a patient

What are the characteristics of a lipoma?

Characteristics of lipomas include:

  • Soft and rubbery to the touch.
  • Easily movable under the skin.
  • Generally painless, but they can occasionally cause discomfort if they grow larger or press against nerves or other structures.

What are the causes of lipomas?

The exact cause of lipomas is often unknown. However, they tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. Certain genetic conditions, such as familial multiple lipomatosis, may increase the likelihood of developing multiple lipomas.

A photo showing Canadian Plastic Surgery Centre's entrance area

What are my treatment options for lipomas?

Lipomas typically do not require treatment unless they are causing symptoms, growing rapidly, or causing cosmetic concerns. In such cases, the primary treatment option is surgical removal. The procedure is generally straightforward, involving local anesthesia and a small incision to remove the lipoma. In some cases, liposuction may be used for removal.

It's important to note that attempting to remove a lipoma at home or without medical supervision can lead to complications, so it's best to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

While lipomas are usually harmless, it is always recommended to have any unusual growths examined by a healthcare professional to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any other underlying conditions.

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