A lipoma is a lump of fatty tissue that develops under the skin. A lipoma lump is movable under the skin, feels soft or slightly squishy, and is not painful. It is known as a tumour but we should be clear - it is not cancer, and does not spread or cause harm anywhere else.
Lipomas are common and as they are not harmful, usually require no treatment. They can slowly get bigger over time and they are more commonly found on the back, chest, shoulders, arms, and upper legs but can sometimes be found in other places like on the face. You can get lipomas removed under local anaesthetic (so you won’t be put to sleep), however, this usually has to be done and paid for privately and not on the NHS. Lipoma's are not contagious and cannot be passed on to others.
You should see your doctor if you develop a lump that you suspect to be a lipoma, this is so that your doctor can confirm it is a lipoma as there are many other causes of lumps with a small number of these being serious. You should also see your doctor if you have a diagnosed lipoma but it has grown quickly, has become painful or hot, is no longer movable or it has changed significantly in any way.
The doctor will ask you about your lump, when you first noticed it and any other symptoms. They will also ask you about your medical history and any relevant family medical history. They will then examine the lump and if necessary send you for further investigations such as a scan if they are unsure whether it is a lipoma or not. If a lipoma is confirmed it is likely you will not require any treatment. If you would like the lump removed for cosmetic reasons your doctor can help recommend where you can get this done however it is likely you will have to get it done privately.
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