Prim. dr Milos Pocekovac

Dr Dragan Stojanovic

What is lipoma?

Lipomas are benign mesenchymal tumors that are developed in the area rich in fatty tissue. Due to the fatty build they are a diagnostic problem, as well as treatment and reconstruction problems.

Lipoma in the breast

Lipomas are one of the most common benign neoplasms from the fatty tissue. The occurrence is around 16% of all mesenchymal tumors. Usually there is well demarcated thin capsule around benign tumors and they are freely movable underneath the skin. They can appear at any body part. Patients can be worried due to breast growth, asymmetry, or fear of a malignant disease. Asymmetry can be the result of unequal hypertrophy or neoplastic growth, which can lead to a problem with the diagnostics.  Large or gigantic lipomas are defined as lesions that have a diameter less than 10cm or weight under 1.000 grams.

Lipomas can appear in any part of the body with a prevalence of 2,1 on 1000 people. 20% is located on the chest. They are typically small and asymptomatic. Most cases of breast asymmetry are a result of unequal widening of the breast, resulting from physiologic hypertrophy, but one must suspect a neoplastic process when the change in size is followed by significant asymmetry which presents a difficulty in diagnostics.

We can conclude that lipomas are benign tumors with very little and limited risk for malignant transformation. After a successful excision they have an excellent prognosis despite the fact that some patients present a big reconstructive challenge, especially when regarding symmetry and esthetic. Evaluation performed before surgery includes careful diagnostic testing due to similarities of lipomas to other conditions, those connected to breast asymmetry and benign hypertrophy. 


Female patient 71 years old with palpable soft tissue change in the upper outer quadrant. Ultrasound diagnosis- lipoma. No symptoms, maintained sensibility in the breast and left arm.