A lipoma is a common, benign (non-cancerous) tumor composed of adipose tissue, which is fat. These soft, slow-growing lumps are generally harmless and are one of the most common types of soft tissue tumors. Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body where fat is present, but they are often found on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, thighs, or back.

Key characteristics of lipomas include:

  1. Texture: They are typically soft and rubbery to the touch.
  2. Movement: Lipomas are usually movable under the skin and tend to slip away when touched.
  3. Size: Lipomas can vary in size, ranging from small pea-sized lumps to larger masses.
  4. Pain: Lipomas are generally painless. They may cause discomfort only if they press on nerves or adjacent tissues.
  5. Growth: Lipomas tend to grow slowly over time. While some remain small, others can become larger.

Lipomas are usually diagnosed based on their appearance and feel during a physical examination. In most cases, no further testing is needed. However, if there are concerns about the nature of the lump imaging studies, such as an ultrasound or MRI, may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

It's important to note that lipomas are generally benign and are not associated with an increased risk of cancer. However, if you notice any new lumps or changes in your skin, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Treatment for lipomas may be necessary if they cause pain, discomfort, or for cosmetic reasons. Surgical removal (excision) is a common method and can safely be performed in the office as a minor procedure.

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