A lipoma is a benign collection of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule. They often present as soft, rubbery, well-circumscribed masses just below the skin. Lipomas are not cancerous and do not have malignant potential. They can occur anywhere on the body, but commonly occur on the trunk and extremities. Lipomas do not usually resolve on their own, but if they become painful or itchy, or if their appearance is very bothersome, they can be removed.
Currently, lipomas are most commonly treated by surgical excision. We can do this in the office using local anesthetic (typically, lidocaine). Following numbing, the physician makes an incision and removes the lipoma. We generally attempt to make the incision as small as possible, but larger lipomas require larger incisions. The incision is closed with stitches.
Direct injection of steroids into the lipoma can help to decrease its size, but will not remove it. And injectable medication that dissolves and eliminates lipomas is currently under development, but is not yet available.