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Same or next day appointments available with a board certified dermatologist

Multiple lipomas growing under the skin on a patient’s arm

Lipomas

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in performing a variety of surgeries including removal of lipomas. If you have any growths that bother you or cause you concern, and you would like to discuss options for removal, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

What is a lipoma?

A lipoma is a benign collection of fat that slowly grows under the skin. They are the most common soft tissue growth that occurs under the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body and a patient may develop one or many lipomas. 

What causes lipomas?

The cause of lipomas is currently unknown. There is a strong genetic component as many patients with lipomas have other family members who have them as well. In some cases a trauma, especially a blunt blow to the body, may incite the growth of a lipoma. 

How is a lipoma diagnosed?

The only way to truly diagnose a lipoma is to perform a surgical removal of the growth and send it for additional testing. A trained specialist such as a dermatologist can accurately diagnosis a lipoma by examining the growth for features such as size, texture, assessing mobility of the growth, and taking a detailed personal and family history. When the physician is in doubt, additional testing including imaging or removal of the growth may be recommended. Symptoms that would cause concern that a growth may cancerous rather than a lipoma would include rapid growth, pain, or having a growth that is immobile and "stuck" to other underlying structures.

Do lipomas need to be removed?

Unless a growth has concerning features as mentioned above, cutting it out is rarely required since lipomas are benign, meaning they do not turn into cancer. Lipomas can still be removed if they are causing problems to the patient such as pain, discomfort, or if the patient isn't happy with the cosmetic appearance of the lipoma. 

How are lipomas removed?

Many of you have likely seen removal of lipomas through shows such as Dr. Pimple Popper or through other social media sights. Lipomas are only reliably removed by surgery. The procedure for most lipomas can be done in-office under local anesthesia. For small lipomas, a slit is made in the skin and they often "pop out" like you may have seen on social media. Many lipomas require more work as the surgeon has to separate the lipoma from the surrounding tissues that are attached to the lipoma. Lipomas in some locations, such as the forehead, may even require cutting under the muscle with can lead to a significant amount of swelling and bruising. There are some other, albeit less effective, options for removing lipomas such as various injections or even liposuction. There is always a risk the lipoma may return even with surgical removal so it is important to talk to your surgeon about the pros and cons of removal prior to deciding if treatment is right for you. 

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in performing a variety of surgeries including removal of lipomas.  If you have any growths that bother you or cause you concern, and you would like to discuss options for removal, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.