Sometimes one finds a benign thickening in the subcutaneous fatty tissue. It is a harmless, benign fatty tumor, a lipoma.


What is a lipoma?

According to, lipomas most commonly appear as small lumps in the subcutaneous tissue of the arms, thighs, or abdomen, but they can also be found in the muscles, chest, esophagus, airways, and intestines. Lipomas rarely cause symptoms, so they usually don’t need to be removed. Only when it is a malignant tumor, a liposarcoma, is removal and treatment absolutely necessary.

Lipomas are thickened nodules in the subcutaneous tissue, the subcutaneous layer. About half of all lipomas settle there. The size can vary from the size of a lentil to 20 centimeters. Under the microscope one can see a benign growth of fatty tissue that has become encapsulated.

A lipoma sometimes appears as early as about the age of 20 to 25 and usually grows very slowly. In principle, however, a lipoma can occur at any age. When lipomas occur in large numbers, it is called lipomatosis. A lipoma can feel soft or bulging.


No exact causes can be identified for the lipoma. As with other benign tumor formations in, it is not known why and what causes it. Doctors suspect a hereditary predisposition. Changes on chromosome 12 were found in some of those affected.

In addition, there are suspicions that a lipoma could be triggered by a violent impact or bruises. Obesity as a cause could not be proven. Slim people are just as likely to be affected by lipomas as overweight people.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

A lipoma rarely presents with symptoms. It is only visible as a rubbery bump under the skin that is usually easy to move. Moving the same often leads to a strange sensation. Often the lipoma appears to be numb. Otherwise, very few people who have a lipoma complain about any symptoms.

In rare cases, pressing on a lipoma is painful. This is especially true for lipomas in which blood has collected. Such a lipoma can cause pain even without external influences. This pain usually corresponds to a feeling of tension or pressure, more rarely an unpleasant pulling.

At best, lipomas in unfavorable places still lead to symptoms. This is the case, for example, when one of the growths presses against the carotid artery and reduces blood flow to the brain. In such cases, dizziness and circulatory problems can occur.

A lipoma can also affect tendons or nerves and cause pain when moving. There may also be a tingling sensation from a pinched nerve or pain that is difficult to pin down. If such tumors are touched, the symptoms can be aggravated. They can also get worse if the lump moves under the skin or gets bigger.

Diagnosis & History

A lipoma rarely causes symptoms and is usually discovered by chance as a small thickening of the subcutaneous tissue. A benign lipoma will move back and forth a little. A lipoma can cause discomfort if it is near a nerve tract or if it is on the joint.

Because a small lipoma is difficult to distinguish from its surroundings, it is difficult to diagnose. A lipoma and the adjacent fatty tissue are difficult to distinguish from each other. You should see a dermatologist for the diagnosis.

In order to establish it precisely, the doctor can puncture the lipoma to differentiate it from other benign growths, e.g. B. cysts that are filled with fluid succeeds. The size of a lipoma can be determined by ultrasound. Computed tomography only needs to be done if there is a suspicion of a liposarcoma.


The lipoma usually causes patients to suffer from thickening that occurs on the affected person’s skin. In most cases, these thickenings occur on the abdomen, arms or legs. In most cases, there is no particular discomfort or pain. Other complications usually do not occur. However, the aesthetics of the affected person can be limited by the lipoma, resulting in psychological problems or depression.

Inferiority complexes or reduced self-esteem can also occur and reduce the patient’s quality of life. In some cases, a lipoma can also negatively affect joints, causing pain. In most cases, treatment is performed by surgery. There are no particular complications or discomfort.

In some cases a scar may remain. The life expectancy of the patient is not affected by a lipoma. The lipoma can also be suctioned out. In most cases, no scars remain. There are no further complications or complaints.

When should you go to the doctor?

If unusual skin changes such as growths, redness or lumps under the skin are noticed, a doctor should be consulted immediately. A doctor must examine the signs and rule out or confirm a lipoma as the cause. Treatment is necessary in any case, because if left untreated, the tumor can spread and spread to the surrounding areas of the body. There is also a risk of malignant metastases forming. People who have already had a lipoma belong to the risk groups and should consult their family doctor if they have the symptoms described.

The same applies to people who have a genetic predisposition, take medication regularly or have an increased risk of developing cancer due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Parents who notice lipoma symptoms in their child should consult the responsible pediatrician immediately and have the signs clarified. In addition to the general practitioner, a dermatologist or internist can be consulted. If the growths are localized in the area of ​​the intestine, a gastroenterologist should also be consulted.

Treatment & Therapy

In most cases, a lipoma does not require treatment because it causes no symptoms. However, if it is very large, attached to a nerve tract or joint and causing discomfort, it can be surgically removed. In most cases, a local anesthetic is sufficient; general anesthesia is only required for larger lipomas.

The surgeon removes the lipoma with its capsule tissue and sutures the wound. A small scar usually remains. In rare cases, complications can occur such as injuries to the adjacent skin tissue or bleeding, infections and wound healing disorders as with other surgical procedures. Sometimes even removal does not help because the lipoma can form again as a recurrence in the same place and a second operation must be performed.

A newer method is lipoma suction. This has the advantage that smaller scars remain, but the disadvantage that not all fat cells may be removed. A smaller lipoma can also be removed by means of lipolysis (“fat-away-syringe”).

Naturopathy sees in lipomas a build -up of metabolic waste products that build up in the tissue instead of being removed. Accordingly, it starts with the lymphatic system and tries to stimulate it to eliminate waste products using suitable healing methods.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis for lipomas is very good. The capsules can be treated surgically or with medication and usually do not cause any further complications. If the lipomas are removed too late, permanent damage may already have occurred. For example, lipomas can press on the organs and surrounding tissue and cause functional impairments. Lipomas can always form again. In individual cases, the benign soft tissue tumor can develop into a chronic disease. For patients, this means regular visits to the doctor and exhausting treatments.

Very rarely, a lipoma can degenerate into a malignant liposarcoma. In general, however, the prognosis is positive. Subcutaneous lipomas can be permanently removed. They pose a cosmetic problem but are not a serious health hazard. Typical complications can occur during treatment. The surgical scar can become inflamed or open. Any complications slow recovery and can cause permanent skin damage.

The prognosis also depends on the location of the lipoma. If the tumors are in the genital area or on the head, treatment is associated with risks. Doctors explain the prospects to the patient before an operation.


The exact causes of the formation of lipomas are not known. Therefore, it is also difficult to take preventive measures.


A lipoma causes thickening of the skin that does not in itself pose a health threat. Only the aesthetics suffer from the lipoma and it is difficult for those affected to bear, which is why the aftercare focuses on finding a good way to deal with the disease.

Sometimes this promotes the development of depression and psychological complaints, which should be clarified with a psychologist. Therapy can help promote self-confidence in dealing with the disease and increase well-being. Those affected should try to focus on a positive healing process despite the adversity. To establish the right attitude, relaxation exercises and meditation can help calm and focus the mind.

== You can do it yourself ==

In addition to the medical removal of a lipoma by means of an operation or a cosmetic procedure using liposuction, natural home remedies and naturopathic remedies for self-treatment can of course also help to treat a lipoma quickly.

The most important thing for those affected is the change in diet. For example, avoiding artificial flavorings, consuming solid food and eliminating processed foods from the diet helps. In addition, an alkaline diet, a lot of sport and exercise, the intake of mineral earth and the use of a deacidification or detoxification cure are recommended. Mineral earth in particular has an increased binding capacity, which has a very positive effect on the rapid elimination of excess acids and metabolic waste products.

Also, some herbs like turmeric or sage can be very helpful in breaking down a lipoma. Honey and beeswax can be particularly helpful in combating lipomas. Saturated fatty acids, refined oils, added preservatives, pesticides, and white flour and milk should be largely avoided. We recommend a morning cup of lukewarm water with fresh lemon juice as well as the intake and increase in omega-3 fatty acids and fresh plant shoots.