Q:

What causes fatty tumors?

A:

Fatty tumors are often caused by genetics, but can develop due to minor injuries, according to Wake Forest Baptist Health. Fatty tumors are typically harmless but should be checked by a doctor to confirm that they are not something more serious.

Lipomas are tumors that consist of fat cells inside a thin capsule of fiber. They are typically found just beneath the skin and are the most common form of noncancerous soft tissue in the human body. While lipomas can form anywhere, they tend to form in certain areas:

  • Torso
  • Neck
  • Upper arm
  • Armpits
  • Upper thigh

Lipomas also have a number of symptoms. They are usually just smaller than a half inch to less than 1.5 inches in size, are not painful, remain the same size or grow slowly over a period of years, have a rubbery consistency, and move easily. Lipomas can become painful if they grow near or onto nerves or if they contain blood vessels. Some lipomas become infected repeatedly, are unsightly, or drain a foul-smelling discharge. In such cases, they can be removed.

The cause of lipomas is generally undetermined but they tend to run in families and as such may of genetic origin. Although lipomas are fatty tumors, being overweight does not cause them to form. Minor injuries have been known to occasionally cause lipomas to form.


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