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Classification & external resources
Lipoma on forearm
ICD-10 D17. (M8850/0)
ICD-9 214
DiseasesDB 7493
MedlinePlus 003279
eMedicine med/2720  derm/242
MeSH D008067

A lipoma is a common, benign tumor composed of fatty tissue. Lipomas are soft to the touch, usually moveable, and are generally painless. They grow very slowly, and in rare cases can become cancerous (Malignant liposarcoma also arises from fatty tissue.) Many lipomas are small but can enlarge to sizes greater than six centimeters. Lipoma is commonly found in adults from 40 to 60 years of age but can also be found in children. Approximately one percent of the general population has a lipoma.[1]



The most common kind are known as "superficial subcutaneous lipomas"), i.e. just below the surface of the skin. Most occur on the trunk, thighs and the forearms, although they may be found anywhere in the body where fat is located.

"Lipomatosis" (ICD E88.2) is a diagnosis of multiple lipomas present on the body.

Types include:

  1. Superficial Subcutaneous
  2. Intramuscular
  3. Spindle cell
  4. Angiolipoma
  5. Benign lipoblastoma
  6. Lipoma of tendon sheath, nerves, synovium or other

Lipoma in animals

Lipoma is also found in animals. These tumors are commonly found on older dogs, but young dogs and even puppies can develop them. They appear near the surface on dogs, and can be single or multiple. They are slow growing tumors that are usually benign. Malignant forms of the tumor are very rare.


The tendency to develop a lipoma is not necessarily hereditary[citation needed], although it can be in a syndrome like hereditary multiple lipomatosis where more than one lipoma develops over time. Some doctors believe that a minor injury may trigger their growth. Being overweight does not cause lipomas.[2]


Often, treatment of a lipoma is not necessary, unless the tumor becomes painful or restricts movement. Many people have them removed for cosmetic reasons. However, if the lipoma is not completely removed during the surgery, it may grow back.

Lipomas are normally removed by simple excision. However, liposuction is another option if the lipoma is soft and has a small connective tissue component. Liposuction often results in less scarring, however it has a greater tendency to fail to remove the entire lipoma, often resulting in re-growth.

There are new methods being developed that are supposed to remove the lipomas without scarring. One of them is removal by the use of injection of various substances. Another method being developed is the use of ultrasound waves to destroy the lipoma. This can be compared with the removal of kidney stones where ultrasound is used to pulverize the stones.


  1. ^ Lipomas at
  2. ^ Lipoma - topic overview at


  • Lipoma Excision by Gohar A. Salam, in American Family Physician. March 1, 2002.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lipoma". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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