Lipoma: A benign fatty lump that is common

A common condition that often manifests itself in the form of a bump under the skin is the lipoma, also known as a fat bump. This is a benign tumor that consists of fat tissue cells and is located in the subcutaneous tissue, or the part under the dermis. It is a common condition that usually occurs in middle-aged people. Despite the fact that the exact causes of the development of a lipoma are not entirely clear, it is known that there may be a hereditary component.

Adipose tissue cells

Another name for a fat lump is a lipoma. Lipoma is a benign tumor made up of adipose tissue cells and is located in the subcutaneous tissue (the part under the dermis).

Lipoma Fat Bump

Heredity plays a role

Lipomas are a common condition that usually occur in middle-aged people. It is still unclear exactly how lipomas arise, although heredity is considered an important factor. Although some forms of excess weight are associated with other skin conditions, it does not seem to play a role in the development of lipomas. Usually these fat lumps are localized on the neck, on the shoulders, upper arms, back and thighs. When touched, a lipoma feels doughy, while the overlying skin is normal in color and texture. A distinctive feature of a lipoma is that it can move freely over the skin and is attached to the underlying layer.

Slow growing

Lipoma grows very slowly and can reach 2 to 10 cm in size, sometimes even larger. A rapidly growing tumor is probably not a lipoma.

About 7% of people with lipomas have multiple fat bumps. They are spread over the body, but can sometimes also be found in 1 body part. Lipomas generally do not cause any complaints, but sometimes it is painful when a lipoma pushes against a nerve.

Lipoma variant and others

  • Angiolipomas: 10% of lipomas are the benign highly vascularized angiolipomas and are located in the neck, neck, palms, soles of the feet. These lipomas are smaller 0.5-5cm and can cause more pain. The complaints can occur at a young age, a study showed an average age of 17 years.
  • A rare lipoma variant is adiposis dolorosa (Dercum disease)and is most common in postmenopausal women, the average age being 35 years. Heredity plays an important role. It occurs in 16% of men. In addition to multiple painful lipomas in the torso, buttocks, upper arms and legs, obesity, fatigue, dry eyes and dry mouth and depression also occur.
  • Other bumps under the skin: sebaceous gland cysts, lymph nodes, fibromas, neurofibromatosis, lymphomas.

Physical examinination

Usually, it is easy to diagnose lipoma because of its obvious clinical features. The physical examination reveals a fatty lump that is attached to the lower layer, has a smooth surface and is well defined. In addition, it can be observed that the bump is detached from the skin. However, in some cases the picture may be less clear and additional tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. For example, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI can be used, possibly followed by tissue research if necessary.


Lipomas do not disappear with cold or hot packs, nor with massages or diets.

Cosmetically disturbing lipomas or lipomas that cause complaints such as pain can be removed.

Superficial and well-encapsulated lipomas can be easily removed surgically under local anesthesia, but poorly demarcated lipomas are not. Because it is deeper than originally thought (back, shoulder blades, ribs) or between vulnerable structures such as nerve and blood vessels.

See youtube for the procedure

There is a chance that a lipoma will come back.

Liposuction for small lipomas is another alternative and causes less scarring. In medium-sized (4-10 cm) and large lipomas (>10 cm), the risk of recurrence is high because it is not always possible to remove the entire lipoma.

After treatment

Post-surgical treatment and scar care are essential steps to ensure that your skin recovers optimally. Here are some important recommendations:

Step 1: Wound care

  • Carefully follow your surgeon or dermatologist’s instructions for wound care. This includes cleaning the wound and applying any prescribed ointments or antibiotics.

Step 2: Minimizing Scars

  • Make sure the wound is not exposed to too much sun, as UV rays can aggravate scar tissue. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF on the scar area.
  • Consider silicone gel or silicone patches. These can help reduce scarring by promoting hydration and reducing pressure on the scar.

Step 3: Hydration

  • Keep your skin hydrated.
    Scars are known to have abnormalities in the functioning of the outer layer of the skin. Dramatic increases in skin water loss (TEWL) and skin dehydration have been observed, and changes in their biomechanical properties have been reported. In other words, scars can cause your skin to lose more water, become drier, and feel different from the rest of your skin. Well-hydrated skin tends to heal scars better. Use a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type.

Below is an example of a customer who had a surgical procedure (caesarean section) and applied Iconic Elements Sensitive cream after removing the stitches. Before and after 4 weeks, lubricate and scar massage (step 5).

The combination with good wound care and scar massage can speed up the process.

Scar Sensitive Cream Stretch Marks Lipoma

Step 4: Protection against infection

  • Stay alert for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus, or increased pain. If you suspect your wound is infected, contact your doctor immediately.

Step 5: Scar massages

  • Scar massages can help make the scar tissue softer and more supple. Consult your surgeon or dermatologist for advice on how best to do this.

Step 6: Patience

  • Be patient Scars take time to heal and fade. It can take several months or even a year for a scar to reach its final appearance.

It is important to remember that each individual responds differently to surgical procedures and can develop scars in different ways.

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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