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Board-certified dermatologists and cosmetic and plastic
surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center specialize in skin conditions such
as lipoma. Using the most advanced treatment options, we provide care to remove
lipomas and prevent them from recurring.
Experienced Treatment for Lipoma
A lipoma is slow-growing, fatty tissue that develops between the skin and the underlying layer of muscle. Lipomas feel soft and rubbery and move easily when touched.
Although they are considered tumors, lipomas are not cancer and are usually harmless. People can have more than one lipoma. Treatment generally isn't necessary unless the lipoma becomes painful or grows larger.
Dermatologists and cosmetic and plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern have extensive experience in evaluating and treating people with lipomas. Our experts are continuously involved in research to bring the latest advancements in patient care and treatment. We work to relieve symptoms, achieve a natural appearance, and improve quality of life for our patients.
Causes and Risk Factors of Lipoma
The causes of lipomas are not fully understood. They tend to occur more often in middle-aged men and women, and they can run in families.
Factors that can increase the risk of developing a lipoma include:
- Age between 40 to 60
- Previous injury to the area
- Inherited conditions such as Madelung’s disease, Cowden syndrome, adiposis dolorosa, or Gardner’s syndrome
Symptoms of Lipoma
Lipomas can occur anywhere in the body but most commonly occur in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms, or thighs. Signs and symptoms that a lump might be a lipoma include:
- Soft, doughy consistency
- Easy mobility with slight finger pressure
- Small size, usually less than 2 inches in diameter
- Pain, if the lipoma grows and presses on nearby nerves or if it has many blood vessels
Our experienced dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons conduct a thorough evaluation, which includes a:
- Physical exam
- Discussion of personal and family medical history
- Discussion of symptoms
We can often diagnose a lipoma with this information, but we sometimes recommend further testing, in some cases to rule out cancer. Liposarcomas – cancerous tumors in fatty tissues – grow rapidly, don't move when touched, and are usually painful.
Further testing might involve:
- Biopsy: Removal of a small tissue sample to examine under a microscope for signs of cancer
- Imaging: An X-ray, MRI scan, or CT scan if the lipoma is large, has unusual features, or appears to go deeper into the muscle layer
Treatment for Lipoma
At UT Southwestern, our dermatologists and cosmetic and plastic surgeons typically recommend monitoring the lipoma for any changes. If the lipoma grows very large or begins to cause pain or other problems, we can remove it. Our procedures to remove a lipoma include:
- Surgery: Our surgeons can take out a lipoma with a small cut, made after an injection to numb the area. A technique known as minimal excision extraction can result in less scarring. People usually go home after the procedure, without the need for a hospital stay.
- Liposuction: This treatment uses a needle and a large syringe to remove the fatty tissue. Liposuction is typically reserved for very large lipomas.
Giant lipomas (larger than 2 inches) usually cause pain because they press on or grow into nearby nerves. We typically remove giant lipomas in an outpatient procedure, but patients might need anesthesia to make them sleep during the procedure.
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Fort Worth, Texas 76104 817-882-2460