Lipomas are true tumors but they are not cancers. That’s what I try to remember to tell every patient I see with a lipoma. Because they are lumps just under the skin they are often confused with skin cysts but the key difference is that cysts are fluid filled and lipomas are solid. The name “lipoma” tells you exactly what it is: “lipo”= fat and “oma”= tumor so a lipoma is a fatty tumor but (again) almost never a cancerous tumor.
Lipomas will grow but they won’t spread to distant parts of the body. They can be multiple or solitary but they eventually become bothersome like the one I saw not long ago on the back of a 32-year-old man. “This thing is bugging me and I want it off. What is it, anyway?” I explained that it was likely a lipoma and therefore not dangerous but it probably will continue to enlarge. I have seen some pretty big lipomas poking out of t-shirts!
I have removed lipomas the size of a pencil eraser and some the size of a California grapefruit. They are usually fairly straightforward in their removal but they can have “fingers” of branching off fatty tumors that can make things interesting. However, most all of them can be done at QuikSurg under local anesthesia. Because the issue with most patients is first, “is it a cancer?” and second, “how can I get this off me?” we typically schedule an appointment so we have time to talk about what it is and what it isn’t and then go ahead and remove it.