Located under the skin, a lipoma is in fact a small growth of fat cells most commonly found in the neck, the torso, upper arms and thighs and armpits. Lipomas can be found anywhere in the body either as a singular growth or several but are harmless non cancerous soft tissue growths.
It is not known what triggers off the development of a lipoma although it is thought that they tend to be inherited, so if you have a family member with lipomas the odds are you are more likely to get one at some point yourself. Lipomas are generally more common in males than females.
The size of a lipoma is variable but they are generally between one to two centimetres and can be detected literally just under the skins surface. Lipomas can growth over time but this is a slow process and can take years before any change in size becomes noticeable. Overall they do not cause any pain but depending on their location they can prove to be somewhat uncomfortable.
Unless a lipoma becomes obvious and is noticeable, particularly in an area of the body that is visible, then treatment may be considered to remove it. Women are more likely to have a lipoma surgically removed and in some cases they may be removed in order to eliminate or test for cancer.
Because lipomas do not turn cancerous, there is not real need to remove them. However, if more severe symptoms develop such as pain or tenderness, an infection occurs and discharge starts to leak or they grow to a size that make them uncomfortable they surgery is generally recommended.