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Lipoma - Oral Mucosal Lesion
See also in: Overview
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Lipoma - Oral Mucosal Lesion

See also in: Overview
Contributors: Carl Allen DDS, MSD, Sook-Bin Woo MS, DMD, MMSc
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Lipomas are benign tumors of fat cells usually occurring in adults in the sixth and seventh decade. Sometimes lipomas are seen in syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia Type I.

Patients notice a soft, painless, slow-growing swelling in the mouth.

Some fatty tumors of the buccal mucosa are not true lipomas but rather herniation of the buccal fat pad, especially during or after surgery in the area.


D17.9 – Benign lipomatous neoplasm, unspecified

93163002 – Lipoma

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Oral lymphoepithelial cysts – These tend to occur on the posterior ventral tongue, floor of mouth and in Waldeyer's ring (palate and oropharynx).
  • Dermoid and epidermoid cysts –These tend to occur in the floor of mouth, often in the midline, in younger patients, and are generally doughier in consistency, and larger.
  • Hyperplastic lymphoid/tonsillar tissue – This occurs in sites where lymphoid tissue is normally found such as Waldeyer's ring.
  • Hyperplastic sebaceous glands (Fordyce spots) – These are generally not nodular, but rather papular and small.
  • Granular cell tumor of the tongue – This is in the deep mucosa and presents as a firm mucosal mass rather than a sessile nodule.

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated:12/07/2021
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Patient Information for Lipoma - Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Contributors: Medical staff writer


A lipoma is a soft lump just under your skin made of fat cells. It grows slowly between the skin and muscle. It is not cancerous. Lipomas can grow anywhere on your body where there are fat cells.

Who’s At Risk

Lipomas tend to run in families. If someone you're related to has lipomas, you have a greater chance of lipoma growth. Lipomas are rare in children. They usually begin growing in middle age.

The cause of lipomas is unknown. However, obese individuals and people with diseases such as diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and some inherited disorders may be at higher risk of developing lipomas.

Signs & Symptoms

Lipomas feel doughy and do not hurt to touch. A lipoma is not hard and you may be able to move it with your fingers. There is no color change to the skin.

The size and body location can vary, but the neck, shoulders, chest, thighs, arms, and back are common locations. There may be several lipomas growing at the same time, but usually people develop one or two at once.

Self-Care Guidelines

Lipomas are not harmful and are not signs of cancer. They do not require treatment.

When to Seek Medical Care

Sometimes a lipoma may grow in a location on your body that makes you uncomfortable, such as on your face or near a bundle of nerves. A medical professional can remove a lipoma if its growth is bothering you.

If the lipoma is growing very fast, does not move to your touch, seems deeper than just under your skin, or causes you pain, see your doctor to make sure you actually have a lipoma.


Your doctor may perform a biopsy to confirm that you have a lipoma. A sample of the fatty tissue will be analyzed by a lab or your physician will look at the sample under a microscope to make sure it is only fatty tissue.

If your lipoma is uncomfortable, you and your doctor may decide to remove it. A very small incision is made over the lipoma, and the entire lipoma can be removed through the small opening.

If the lipoma is large, it can be removed with liposuction to prevent a scar. A needle and syringe are used to remove the fatty tissue.
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Lipoma - Oral Mucosal Lesion
See also in: Overview
A medical illustration showing key findings of Lipoma : Tumor, Subcutaneous nodules
Clinical image of Lipoma - imageId=301128. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Skin-colored and slightly pink nodule on the back.'
Skin-colored and slightly pink nodule on the back.
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