If you have a soft, fatty lump under your skin, you may be dealing with a lipoma. Lipomas are usually painless and can move slightly with a bit of pressure. While lipomas are benign growths, they can become tender or painful depending on where on your body they develop, especially if they grow and press on a nerve. Or, you may simply want to remove a lipoma because you do not like how it looks and cannot hide it easily. Whatever the case, a board-certified dermatologist at Arlington Dermatology can diagnose and remove a lipoma if desired.

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What Causes Lipomas?

Lipoma of the shoulder back.

The exact cause of lipomas is unknown at this time. However, if you have lipomas, it is likely that the condition may also run in your family as there is often is a genetic predisposition to this condition.

Lipomas are typically small at around two inches or less in diameter, but rarely they can grow to be much larger. Lipomas are typically found just under the skin in the neck, shoulders, back, arms, thighs, or abdomen, but can be located virtually anywhere on the body. A lipoma is usually soft to the touch and may feel “doughy,” but you may also feel some pain or tenderness with palpation, especially if the lipoma grows. 

Who Gets Lipomas?

It is possible for nearly any person at any age to develop a lipoma. Below are a few risk factors:

  • Family history of lipomas
  • Between the ages of 40-60
  • Recent injury
  • Obesity
  • Certain genetic or medical disorders

How Can I Prevent Lipomas?

Because obesity puts you at a higher risk for developing a lipoma, you can, in some cases, prevent them by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly in order to maintain a healthy and stable weight. However, lipomas due to other causes are not generally preventable. 

Why Treat Lipomas?

It is advisable to see a dermatologist and evaluate a potential lipoma to ensure it is not a more serious issue. Once a diagnosis has been made, not all lipomas will require treatment. However, a lipoma can be painful, continue to grow without treatment, or bother you for another reason. In some cases, a lipoma may press on a nerve, which can cause pain or discomfort. The lipoma may also be cosmetically unappealing or affect your muscle movement. In these cases, you should seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist. 

How Can I Treat Lipomas?

Lipomas are typically removed by a dermatologist through surgical excision with a small incision.

I’ve had probably 10 dermatologists in my life but none compare to Dr. Livingood and his team. They take the time to walk you through your options and their recommendations, leaving you feeling confident and autonomous of your own healthcare management. I also really appreciate how conscious they are of cost. Dr. Livingood connected me with a local delivery pharmacy that is cheaper than CVS or Walgreens. They aren’t pushy of products or services which is a first for any dermatologist I’ve been to. I know I’m in good hands by being a patient at their practice.

Schedule an Appointment 

If you have a growth below your skin that you believe is a lipoma, a board-certified dermatologist can help to safely remove the mass. To schedule an appointment at Arlington Dermatology, please call our office or request an appointment online.

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