What is a Lipoma?

A lipoma is a slow-growing, fatty lump that is most often situated under the skin. These feel doughy and move easily when slight pressure is applied. Lipomas are usually detected in adulthood and it is not uncommon to have more than one.

A lipoma is not cancer and is usually harmless. Lipomas can develop anywhere in the body. They commonly occur in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms and thighs.


  • Generally small. Lipomas are typically less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter, but they can grow.
  • Usually not painful or symptomatic but can sometimes grow to become tender


A lipoma is rarely a serious medical condition. Treatment generally isn’t necessary, but if it bothers you, or is painful or swollen, you may want to have it removed. Lipomas can be easily removed surgically. This procedure is called an excision, during which the skin is numbed with a needle, the lipoma is removed, and stitches are placed.


The cause of lipomas is unknown. Lipomas tend to run in families, so it is thought that genetic factors play a role in their development.

Contact our office if you suspect that your Lipoma is swollen or infected at (703) 356-5111


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