Lipoma on the arm


Often lipomas are located on the upper arm or forearm.

Lipomas, also known as fatty tissue tumors, are among the most common tumors of soft tissue and are almost always benign. They occur mainly on the trunk, as well as the arms and legs. In the vast majority of cases, lipomas remain asymptomatic and are only discovered by those affected when they are large enough to be felt through the skin. Only if the soft tissue tumor hits sensitive structures such as presses superficial nerves on the forearm, pain or pressure sensations can be observed.

Why lipomas ultimately develop is still unclear. However, one suspects a considerable one genetic Factor as the fat buildup often family be observed frequently. If the benign nature of the lipoma has been unequivocally determined and the affected person has no symptoms whatsoever, there is in principle no need for surgical removal. Painful, very large or aesthetically disturbing fatty tissue growths can be caused by a Specialist in a small one surgery removed. Latest techniques such as Lipolysis ("Fat-away-syringe", Injection lipolysis) also promise quick and uncomplicated success.


As mentioned earlier, the exact cause is largely unknown. In addition to family accumulation are also Women more often affected than men. Contrary to popular belief, our body weight has Nothing to do with lipoma development.

Special forms

If those affected suffer from numerous lipomas, one speaks of "lipomatosis". Depending on the type, different parts of the body are covered with countless fat lumps. E.g. in lipomatosis type I.I. especially shoulder girdle and arms covered by lipomas. Another special form is the "Lipomatosis dolorosa“(Dercum's disease). They are sometimes very characteristic painful, numerous fat nodules. Affected people suffer from extreme pain even with the slightest touch or pressure, which increases as the disease progresses. One finds the lipomas among other things at belly, buttocks as well as the sides of the upper arms. Extremely Rare, lipomas can degenerate and too malicious Soft tissue tumors ("liposarcoma").


  • Pain: Lipomas rarely cause subjective complaints. However, when they grow into deeper tissue and compress muscles, nerves, or blood vessels, pain is possible. On our arms, especially the forearms, fatty tissue and nerves are spatially close to one another.Larger lipomas can easily affect sensitive skin nerves such as press the superficial radial ramus nerve. The irritation of the nerve sends signals to the brain and hurts the affected area. Since skin nerves of the forearm also supply large parts of the hand sensitively, radiating pain to the fingertips is also possible. There is usually more fatty tissue on the upper arm, so that nerve structures have enough space. Only when the lipoma increases in size can pain develop.
    More on the subject: Pain from a lipoma
  • Parasitic sensations: Occasionally, fatty tissue growths can also trigger abnormal sensations. If the location is unfavorable or if the forearm increases in size, light pressure on nerve structures is sometimes enough to trigger a “tingling sensation” or “ants running” in the fingers. In addition, cold or heat loss sensations are also possible.
  • Psycho-social problems: lipomas in the head area, but also in slightly exposed areas, such as the forearm, are often a psychological burden for those affected. It is often perceived as an aesthetic flaw. In the worst case, patients feel shame or disgust and withdraw from their social environment.


As a rule, you realize Dermatologist a lipoma by eye or touch diagnosis. It is mostly of a soft consistency, palpable, lobed and easy to move. Sometimes, however, the fat lumps can feel rather coarse and hard. They range in size from the size of a pea to the dimensions of a small soccer ball! In addition, the questioning (anamnesis) of the patient provides valuable information. In particular, the rate of growth and variability of the lipoma are of great importance, since lipomas are usually slowly grow and show few changes. To avoid malicious events, such as To rule out a liposarcoma with certainty, your dermatologist may also be able to resort to an ultrasound examination. In very rare cases, an MRI image is even required.


A lipoma can be surgically removed if it bothers the patient.

Removing the lipoma

Since not all lipomas in the arm area cause discomfort, therapeutic intervention is not always necessary. However, removal may be indicated if the following criteria are met:

  • Pain
  • Paresthesia
  • Doubts about the benignity, e.g. faster growth tendency
  • Aesthetic / cosmetic restrictions

In principle, there are various options available Removal of the lipoma to disposal. Your family doctor will decide together with you which method is best for you.

  • OP: Usually, lipomas are removed in a short operation under local anesthesia. By keeping the skin incision as small as possible, smaller lipomas can be removed quickly and easily. In the case of outpatient interventions, those affected can usually be discharged home after a short time. In the case of larger or poorly localized adipose tissue tumors, one may also occur OP under general anesthesia in question. Since good results can be achieved with a minimal incision, the Scarring mostly rather insignificant.
  • Lipolysis: The latest method for removing the troublesome fat lumps is so-called "lipolysis" (see: Injection lipolysis). If those affected e.g. Suffering from lipomas on the forearm can result from surgical removal scar, are perceived as being cosmetically very unpleasant. During lipolysis, a small syringe ("Fat-away syringe"), Fat-dissolving substances are applied directly into the lipoma and then cause the fat cells to" melt down ". In contrast to surgical removal, with this method the lipoma cannot be histologically ("Under the microscope") to be examined. Therefore, if there is the slightest doubt about the benign nature, lipolysis may be used Not be applied.
  • Liposuction: In some cases, especially with larger lipomas, liposuction may also be the method of choice. Similar to cosmetic liposuction, liquid is injected into the lipoma under local anesthesia. The fat accumulation is then suctioned off through a large cannula. Only that remains Puncture site.

"Watchful Waiting"

If your lipoma does not cause any discomfort and cosmetically does not bother you either no Therapy take place. Careful observation ("Watchful Waiting") for any changes or possible restrictions, such as Pain, are completely sufficient.


Lipomas only degenerate extremely Rare to malignant tumors. From a certain size or unfavorable location, e.g. above a cutaneous nerve on the forearm Pain or functional Impairments to be watched. However, by removing it, in almost all cases it is possible to achieve freedom from symptoms.