Doctors conducting surgery


A lipoma is a round or oval-shaped mass of tissue that grows just under the skin. It is formed of fat, is readily moved when touched, and often doesn’t hurt

Scoliosis Quiz on the Lipoma page
Pain Quiz on the Lipoma page

3 percent of individuals with progressive curvature may eventually experience severe problems that can include scoliosis and back pain, spinal problems, and nerve compression causing numbness, weakness, and leg pain.


A lipoma is a round or oval-shaped mass of tissue that grows just under the skin. It is formed of fat, is readily moved when touched, and often doesn’t hurt. These tumors can form anywhere on the body, but the back, chest, arms, shoulders, and neck are where they most frequently occur. Lipomas are benign soft tissue tumors. They don’t cause cancer and they develop slowly. The majority of them don’t require medical attention. Your doctor can perform an outpatient treatment to remove a lipoma if it is hurting you.

Spinal Cord Lipoma

Developmental abnormalities known as spinal cord lipomas can be as simple as a little fatty tumor linked to the distal spinal cord or as complicated as malformations affecting all spinal systems. In a few instances, the tumor is fully intraspinal and only penetrates the subcutaneous tissues through a small opening in the posterior components of the spine. It is known as a lipomyelomeningocele when subcutaneous tissues and a cavity holding cerebrospinal fluid are involved.


This is a congenital defect linked to spina bifida. These lesions afflict females 1.5 times more frequently than men and are visible in the first few months or years of life. A lipomyelomeningocele is a huge mass of fat cells. It originates in the spinal canal and protrudes under the skin of the child’s back through the space between the vertebrae as a big, uneven lump of soft tissue at the base of the lower back or in the buttocks from birth.

Where is a Lipoma Able to Grow?

Any area of the body can develop a lipoma, however, they usually develop on the:

  1. Arms
  2. Thighs
  3. Neck
  4. Shoulders


More than 90% of patients will have a clear soft tissue swell across the lower back’s spine. These lesions are not painful and are covered by skin. Although neurological function normally declines over a period of months to years, patients may begin to lose it as soon as a few weeks after birth. Typical neurological symptoms include weakness, incontinence of the bladder and intestines, and weakness. The lower extremities may atrophy as a result of the weakness, which may be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Pain in older teens and adults may be what prompts a patient to visit a doctor. The discomfort could radiate and be difficult to define. There may not be much back movement.


It is unknown what specifically leads to the development of lipomas within the body. The possibility of it being inherited is thought to exist. Moreover, many illnesses cause these tumors to develop throughout the body. A few of these include:

Dercum’s disease

is an uncommon condition that most frequently causes uncomfortable lipomas to develop on the arms, legs, and trunk. Adiposis Dolorosa and Anders’ syndrome are other names for it.

Gardner syndrome

Gardner syndrome, also known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), is a condition that results in lipomas and a number of other health issues.

Hereditary multiple Lipomatosis

This condition is also known as Familial Multiple Lipomatosis, and it is inherited genetically.

Madelung’s disease

In contrast to women, males who consume too much alcohol are more likely to develop this illness. Additionally, it is known as multiple symmetric lipomatosis. Lipomas enlarge and develop around the neck and shoulders as a result of Madelung’s illness.


Lipomas come in a variety of types. The way tissue looks under a microscope helps doctors differentiate between different types of these tumors. Lipoma types include:

Conventional lipoma

The most typical type of tumor is this one.

Atypical lipoma

In addition to having more cells, these tumors have deeper fat.


Instead of the mature white fat, this growth has brown fat.


In contrast to ordinary lipomas, the fat tissue in a myelolipoma generates white blood cells.

Spindle cell lipoma

The fat cells in this development resemble spindles, as the name would imply.

Pleomorphic lipoma

The fat cells in this type are of different sizes and forms.

Fibro lipoma

Fatty and fibrous tissue coexist in fibro lipomas.


An angiolipoma is what you have if the tumor has a lot of blood vessels in addition to fat.

Risk factors

You may also be more likely to develop lipomas if you have certain disorders. These comprise:

  • Gardner’s syndrome
  • Madelung’s disease
  • Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome
  • Adiposis dolorosa
  • Cowden syndrome

In addition to these risk factors, the following illnesses may also contribute to lipomas developing:

  • Obesity
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Liver disease

When is Removal Necessary?

Most people do not require surgery to remove lipomas since they are mostly harmless. However, if a lipoma:

  • Is cancerous
  • Is enormous or expanding swiftly.
  • Causes discomfort and agony, among other annoying symptoms.
  • Interferes with the body’s natural processes.
  • Produces discomfort for aesthetic purposes.
  • The physician is unable to confirm if the tumor is a lipoma or another kind of tumor.

Removal Procedure

Doctors can often surgically remove lipomas. One method is to squeeze out the fat inside the tumor through a small incision in the skin. Patients are usually under local anesthesia during this surgery and should be able to go home the same day. Your doctor may need to make a larger incision to completely remove a large lipoma. These tumors can also be removed by liposuction. To do this, the doctor must cut the lump and insert a thin, hollow tube through the incision. A tube is then used to suck most of the fat cells out of the tumor’s body. Following surgery, the surgeon often sends the tissue to a lab for testing. When the incision has healed from these procedures, the scar is frequently minimal.

What Occurs Throughout the Lipoma Removal Surgery?

A local anesthetic injection is used to numb the skin that covers the lipoma. A lipoma-length incision is performed once the area has become numb. Following the removal of the lipoma, the incision is carefully sewn up. The scar is concealed as far as is practical. Following surgery, stitches may be absorbable or removed 7–10 days later.


Because lipomas frequently start off tiny and are consequently difficult for people to notice, treatment typically starts when a lipoma is big. The diagnosis of lipoma is a difficult process that calls for caution because simply by its appearance it can be many things. Doctors can readily identify a Lipoma by its palpation, but not if it is benign or cancerous. So, a histological study must be done immediately in order to be certain about this, and therefore, a biopsy will occur.  The right therapy only begins after completing all of these processes.

Treatment for Lipomas

When a lipoma is diagnosed but is not painful or uncomfortable, it should not always be removed.  Even folk cures are an option, but definitely not encouraged. The use of numerous herbs and tinctures comprise folk remedies and include the usage of golden mustache, aloe, celandine, and Aloe Vera. However, with today’s medicine, treating Lipomas with folk cures makes no sense.

Laser treatment is an outstanding choice. Removal following laser therapy has very few aftereffects and wounds heal fast and without scarring. The approach is regarded as the simplest technique to treat lipomas and is also extremely successful.

An injection is another well-known and popular procedure for eliminating lipomas. This technique involves a unique chemical that dissolves it. But this approach does not always provide desirable outcomes. This may even cause a recurrence in some cases. There are several ways to remove a lipoma today thanks to the constantly improving state of medicine. However, in the majority of situations, the doctor must decide which approach is best for each patient.  Lipoma can affect both adults and children.

Although lipomas are not a hazardous condition, it is nevertheless preferable to see a doctor to stop their progression. You must live a healthy lifestyle, kick harmful habits, and promptly seek medical attention. These guidelines will aid in preventing the development of several ailments in the body, in addition to benign tumors.


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If you are an adult living with scoliosis or have a child with this condition and need a doctor who specializes in orthopedic surgery,
call the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment today.