To diagnose a lipoma, your doctor may perform:
- A physical exam
- A tissue sample removal (biopsy) for lab examination
- An ultrasound or other imaging test, such as an MRI or CT scan, if the lipoma is large, has unusual features or appears to be deeper than the fatty tissue
There's a very small chance that a lump resembling a lipoma may actually be a form of cancer called liposarcoma. Liposarcomas — cancerous tumors in fatty tissues — grow rapidly, don't move under the skin and are usually painful. A biopsy, MRI or CT scan is typically done if your doctor suspects liposarcoma.
Jan. 22, 2015
- Goldstein BG, et al. Overview of benign lesions of the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 4, 2014.
- Lipoma. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00631. Accessed Nov. 4, 2014.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=392. Accessed Nov. 4, 2014.
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookId=682. Accessed Nov. 4, 2014.
- Cosulich MT, et al. Minimal excision extraction of lipomas. JAMA Dermatology. 2014;150:1360.
- Amber KT, et al. Injection therapy for the management of superficial subcutaneous lipomas. The Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology. 2014;7:46.