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A lipoma is a common, non-cancerous, soft tissue growth just below the skin made up of fat cells. Though most lipomas are not a cause for concern, if the growth becomes too large, it may become painful.
Though the cause of lipomas is unknown, there is some indication that the tendency to develop them is genetic. In some cases, a minor injury can trigger the growth of a lipoma. All ages are at risk for lipomas, though most occur in people who are 40-60-years old. Multiple lipomas tend to occur more frequently in men.
Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body, but are most common on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms and armpits. You can have a single lipoma or several at the same time. Typically, lipomas develop just under the skin and are 1-3 cm in size. They are not generally painful, but can grow slowly over time. If your lipoma is painful or if you want it removed for cosmetic reasons, it can be removed.
It is not medically necessary to treat a lipoma.
Though lipomas themselves are not cancerous, your doctor may want to test it to make sure it is not a cancerous growth. If benign, lipomas can be left untreated, injected with steroids to shrink the growth or removed with outpatient surgery.
Because there are no known risk factors for developing lipoma other than a genetic risk, there is also no known prevention.
*Results may vary by individual