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.
Feb. 21, 2012
- Collison DW. Lipomas. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec10/ch127/ch127f.html. Accessed Oct. 29, 2011.
- Kuwano Y, et al. Efficacy of diagnostic ultrasonography of lipomas, epidermal cysts and ganglions. Archives of Dermatology. 2009;145:761.
- Wolff K, et al. Benign neoplasms and hyperplasias. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=5202138. Accessed October 29, 2011.
- Brenn T. Neoplasms of subcutaneous fat. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=505. Accessed Oct. 29, 2011.
- Pandya KA, et al. Benign skin lesions: Lipomas, epidermal inclusion cysts, muscle and nerve biopsies. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2009;89:677.