Non-surgical techniques to treat lipomas include steroid injections, which shrink a lipoma, and liposuction, which removes the fatty lump, according to Mayo Clinic. Because a lipoma is usually harmless, it can be left untreated.
Liposuction involves inserting a needle attached to a large syringe into the lump and extracting it, Mayo Clinic explains. Steroid injections often don't completely remove the lipoma, but the technique is currently being studied as a treatment before lipoma surgery.
Most lipomas that require treatment are removed surgically, Mayo Clinic states. The lumps rarely reappear after surgery, but patients may experience scarring and bruising. A surgical technique called minimal excision extraction usually produces less scarring.
Lipomas are non-cancerous fatty lumps located between the skin and muscle, most commonly on the abdomen, neck, shoulders, back and thighs, says Mayo Clinic. Most lipomas grow to less than 2 inches in diameter. If a lipoma begins growing larger or becomes painful, doctors may wish to remove it.
Family history plays a role in whether someone will develop lipomas, Mayo Clinic states. Although they can occur at any age, most people develop lipomas between the ages of 40 and 60. Some disorders, such as adiposis dolorosa or Cowden and Gardner's syndromes may also be risk factors.