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Fatty lipomas

Skin Conditions | September 30, 2020 | Author: Naturopath

Skin conditions

Fatty lipomas

Fatty lipomas are masses of fat (adipose) tissue most often discovered in the head, neck, shoulders or backs. They are felt as a mobile lump below the surface of the skin, and while the discovery of any lump is of concern, fatty lipomas are benign. Diagnosis is important as common lipomas characteristically resemble a more concerning mass known as a liposarcoma, a cancer which develops in adipose tissue anywhere in the body.

Symptoms and signs

A soft and mobile mass is usually felt under the skin and generally not painful unless they are pressing on blood vessels, nerves or joints.

They are generally located in subcutaneous tissue, known as the hypodermis or innermost layer of the skin which consist of fat and connective tissue, but they can develop between joints, internal organs such as the bowel or stomach. Most common places for lipomas to occur on the body is the face, neck, shoulders, upper trunk and back.

What is a lipoma?

What is a lipoma?Lipomas are defined as mesenchymal tumors. A mass of tissue composed of lobulated, slow-growing, mature adipose tissue typically enclosed in a thin, fibrous capsule which is not attached to any muscle tissue. They are usually found singularly, but more than one may be present in the body.

Who develops lipomas and Why?

The discovery of any lump on the body can be a worrying concern, and all lumps should be diagnosed by a medical practitioner. Lipomas are most often found in people aged between 40 and 60 years of age with the beginning development time frame unknown.

Why they develop is generally inclear. Studies have revealed a genetic link – associated with genetic abnormalities. Other theories link development of a lipoma with trauma in the area of development. Obesity, alcohol abuse, liver disease and glucose intolerance are considered possible risk factors to development. Lipomas have been associated with some disorders such as Madelung disease, Gardener syndrome, multiple hereditary lipomatosis and adiposis dolorosa, although this is rare.

Areas of Concern

Fatty lipomas generally pose no threat to the health of the body, unless they are situated in positions where they cause discomfort or push on internal structures or have a rapid growth. Although they are usually slow growing. Genetic predisposition cannot be changed, but risk factor modification is an area where people have control over potentially protecting themselves from the formation of a lipoma. This include reducing alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a balanced, low-glycaemic diet and enjoy an active lifestyle to avoid glucose intolerance.

Diagnosing lipomaDiagnosing lipoma

A doctor will perform a physical examination. An ultrasound showing the mass deep in the adipose tissue which is different from surrounding tissue. A biopsy and tissue analysis is not necessarily performed as diagnosis is usually made clinically.


Generally, lipomas are considered harmless and are only treated if they are causing pain due to their location or they are impacting on the function of an organ. Some people may choose to have them surgically removed for cosmetic purposes.

Medical treatment using injections or excision or a combination of liposuction and excision is a safe way for the removal of lipomas. This is performed usually for cosmetic reasons. Once liposuction is performed the residual capsule can be removed preventing reoccurrence. Reoccurrence generally does not occur so long as the entire capsule has been removed.

Lipomas are most often diagnosed as benign (non-cancerous).


Turmeric  (Curcuma longa) is a popular spice used both for culinary and medicinal purposes. It has been used topically to shrink lipomas. One teaspoon of powdered turmeric mixed into a paste using olive oil and applied to the lipoma and covered with a clean cloth. The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin. tumeric can be added to food or taken as a tablet/capsule for many health conditions. There are numerous studies on the health benefits of curcumin, especially its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative role in human health.

Two other herbs which purportedly reduced the size of lipomas when applied topically are sage and chickweed.


It is suggested the formation of fatty tissue growth is a result of an excess of fat in the diet. Reducing dietary fats and increasing fruits and vegetable intake is purported to help reduce the chance of developing lipomas. Processed food and artificial preservatives/colours/ sweeteners can be included in this list.

Metabolic syndrome 

Metabolic syndrome¬†Metabolic syndrome is a group of heath disorders - high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, excess weight around the midrift and pre-diabetes, which are associated with the development of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Reducing the risks in development of metabolic disorder may also help reduce the risk of lipoma growth. 
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In summary

Lipomas are triggered by injuries in the soft tissues, and they can also be an inherited condition. Lipomas are non-cancerous and harmless, and they often do not require any treatment. However, when the lumps become bothersome, many sufferers prefer to have them removed.

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Lipomas, Pathology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482343/



Identification of somatic alterations in lipoma using whole exome sequencing https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-50805-w

Combined Liposuction and Excision of Lipomas: Long-Term Evaluation of a Large Sample of Patients https://www.hindawi.com/journals/psi/2015/625396/


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