Cambridge Plastic Surgery

Plastic and reconstructive surgery, hand surgery and aesthetic surgery

Medicolegal reporting




A lipoma is a soft fatty lump that grows in the soft tissues under the skin. Lipomas can occur in any area. They range from something that is less than a centimetre in diameter to something that is several centimetres in diameter. Lipomas usually feel soft and rubbery. They are usually painless.

Further information can be found at:

If you have any doubts regarding the nature of a lump then arrange to see your GP.

Lipomas do not need surgical removal unless they grow rapidly, are large (more than 5 cm at least in diameter), or cause significant symptoms.

If there is any doubt regarding the nature of a soft tissue lump then an ultra sound scan or an MR scan can be useful to confirm the diagnosis, location and size of an suspected lipoma.

If there are any suspicious features on the scan: surgery might be required to remove the lipoma and to unequivocally exclude the presence of worrying changes in the lipoma that might suggest the presence of a cancerous fatty lump such as a liposarcoma. These cancers are extremely rare, further information is available at:

When required, surgery is under either local or general anaesthetic: depending upon the size and location of the suspected lipoma. Most patients are return home on the same day as their surgery. There are risks with any surgery, particularly bleeding, infection, fluid accumulation, recurrence and lumpy or tender scar formation.

Patients usually have to wait about two weeks for the laboratory results, patients can usually return to clerical work within two weeks of surgery.

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