Lipoma: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A lipoma is a growth of fat just below the skin. It may feel soft and rubbery. Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body. But they are most common on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and armpits. A lipoma does not turn into cancer.

Lipomas usually are not treated, because most of them don't hurt or cause problems. But your doctor may remove a lipoma if it is painful, gets infected, or bothers you.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • A lipoma usually needs no care at home unless your doctor made a cut (incision) to remove it.
  • If your doctor told you how to care for your incision, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • Wash around the incision with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. These can slow healing.
    • You may cover the incision with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the lipoma.
    • Pus draining from the lipoma.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • The lipoma is growing or changing.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.