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How Big Can Lipomas Get?

How Big can Lipomas Get?

Lipomas are often small in size and they do not grow larger than 2 cm; however, there are some that grow bigger than 5 cm in diameter and are referred to as giant lipomas. A lipoma is a mass of fat cells that grow slowly as many fatty cells churn together to form the mass. They are situated on the subcutaneous layer, beneath the skin and are visible from atop it. Lipomas can occur anywhere in the body including the arms, neck, legs, back and shoulders, to name a few. In terms of texture, lipomas are soft, sponge-like, and movable. They are not a rare occurrence and can be found in any human being from young children, middle-aged adults and even the elderly. However, the size of the lipoma is dependent on the availability of fatty tissues and how fast the mass is formed.

How Big Can Lipomas Get?

Lipoma As a Benign Tumor

Lipomas are a type of tumor, but the word shouldn’t scare you at all. There are two types of tumors, the aggressive kind, i.e. malignant tumors and the harmless kind, i.e. benign tumors. Unlike malignant growths, lipomas do not spread to other adjacent organs and hardly deteriorate the health of the patient. So, at no point will your lipoma turn into a cancerous growth that will diminish the quality of your life. They are usually painless and only in the case of large lipomas would you experience pain. Why? Because if they are close to sensitive areas such as blood vessels or nerves, they press against them leading to distress in the body.

Major Causes of Lipoma – Obesity and Family History

One of the major causes of a lipoma is obesity. People who are obese by nature or have bad living lifestyles are at a greater risk of developing a lipoma. This is often due to the fact that they experience a higher concentration of fatty tissues which aid in the formation of lipomas. As much as that is the case, once a lipoma has developed, it does not go away. This is regardless of whether you lose weight or start living healthier. Family genes also play a huge role in people who descend from a lineage with lipoma cases. Let’s say that your grandmother had a cause of lipoma, then if you inherited a part of the gene that caused the lipoma, there is a 50% likelihood you’ll develop it too. However, there is also an equal percentage you will be free of the condition.

A Case of Multiple Lipomas

Another vital thing you should know about lipomas is that if you have multiple lipomas, they are safer removed rather than living with them. Conversely, if you only have one small one, it is better left alone. Multiple lipomas tend to grow more in size over time and increase in your body as well. The growth in the size of the masses will vary from patient to patient and depending on the mass itself. However, it is better to be safe than sorry, and have your growths removed. This is done via a surgical procedure where the growth is removed from a small incision. The scars from the previously removed lipomas do not last long and with time, they fade away.


The rate of growth of lipoma is unpredictable and although it can be slow, some people may have lipomas growing abnormally fast. While lipomas don’t grow larger than a pea-size, we cannot ignore that some of the growths will be bigger in size. A lipoma is considered big if it grows more than 5cm in size. For patients with multiple lipomas, their benign masses tend to enlarge over time and increase in number. So, as a caution to them, it is advisable that they have them removed early enough when they are still small and few. People can live with lipomas for a really long time and they will not affect your life status negatively. The only problem comes in if they are located near delicate areas and internal organs. On top of that, large lipomas are not a pleasing sight to the eye, and cause aesthetic problems in the patient.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 6, 2023

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