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What Causes Neck Lipoma?

Neck lipomas are benign fatty growths, often attributed to genetic factors and sometimes linked to minor injuries. While typically harmless, understanding their origins is crucial for peace of mind. Discover the intricacies of these soft tissue lumps—what prompts their development, and when should you seek medical advice? Ready to uncover the story behind neck lipomas? Join us as we explore further.
T. Broderick
T. Broderick

Genetic mutation and heredity are the main factors that can cause a neck lipoma. Lipomas, benign tumors made of fatty tissue, appear in middle age in the neck, back and limbs. They are considered harmless by the medical community. Surgical treatment is only recommended if a lipoma causes discomfort and/or grows beyond a certain size. Surgery, if performed, only requires the patient to have a local anesthetic; more surgeries may be necessary if the lipoma reappears due to heredity factors.

A lipoma is a type of benign tumor that roughly one percent of adults develop in middle age. They tend to grow just under the skin in the fatty layer, causing a visible bump. In rarer cases they can develop within the muscle fibers of the limbs, causing soreness and/or pain. A neck lipoma falls into the first category. They are hard to the touch, and can move somewhat if one applies pressure with his or her fingers.

Heredity may cause a neck lipoma.
Heredity may cause a neck lipoma.

The first cause of a lipoma is genetic mutation. Genetic mutation is the cause of many tumors and cancers. In this case, the abnormal and continued replication of a single fat cell causes the lump to form. As the tumor cannot metastasize to other organs or tissues, it is not life threatening. As the cause is cell mutation, though, the lipoma may grow beyond the common 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter; some neck lipomas can grow larger than a baseball.

Lipomas typically appear in middle age.
Lipomas typically appear in middle age.

The second possible cause of a neck lipoma is a heredity condition known as lipomatosis. This condition is characterized by multiple lipomas simultaneously appearing over the body. Multiple lipomas in no way indicate that the condition has metastasized; it is due to a chromosomal defect. Though one is born with this defective gene, the condition does not develop until middle age or later. As many lipomas may be visible at once, one may consider surgical removal to restore one's previous cosmetic appearance.

Neck lipoma are typically slow-growing and painless.
Neck lipoma are typically slow-growing and painless.

Due to its location, having a neck lipoma surgically removed is a simple procedure. It is an outpatient procedure where one only needs a local anesthetic rather than complete sedation. Endoscopy or simple excision are the most popular methods. In many cases, a patient can return home the same day and generally does not have to limit life activities during the healing process. Those with lipomatosis may have to have additional surgeries if a neck lipoma should reappear.

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Discussion Comments


I hate the lump I have. I get very down and I feel it pushes my neck forward. It is on the back of my neck and it is huge! I hate it.


I inherited lipomatosis from my mother. She has had multiple surgeries to remove large lumps on her arms, back, and neck throughout the years. She told me that I might one day discover I had the same condition.

I was 45 before I developed my first lipoma. It was on my neck, and it was about the size of a gumball. Within a few days, more lipomas appeared on other areas of my body. I remembered what my mother had told me, and I told my doctor that I most likely had her disease.

He tried injecting a steroid into the lipomas, but it only worked on the smallest ones. The bigger ones that remained required surgery.


I have a genetic mutation that causes me to develop neck lipomas frequently. Before I knew I had this mutation, I was afraid that I had a cancerous tumor. I was relieved to discover that lipomas are basically harmless.

The biggest lipoma I have ever gotten was almost the size of a tennis ball. My doctor recommended liposuction to remove it, because this would leave less of a scar than surgery.

He numbed the area with lidocaine and sucked out the lipoma. Though I still develop small ones from time to time, I have never had another one that large.


I developed a neck lipoma about the size of a marble. It looked weird just sticking out the side, and I wanted it gone, but I didn’t want to have surgery.

My doctor told me that sometimes injecting a steroid directly into the middle of the lipoma can make it go away. Since mine was small, the steroid treatment was perfect for it.

It took about three weeks for it to disappear, but after that, there was no trace of it. I didn’t experience any of the negative side effects of the steroid, because he injected it right into the lipoma, which absorbed it.


My uncle had multiple lipomatosis of the trunk. A neck lipoma was the first one to appear, but later, his abdomen and chest area became covered with lipomas. It looked like he had a bunch of golf balls tucked under his skin.

His doctor only had to look at him to know what he had. Because there were so many of them, he decided to have them surgically removed.

He was sore for quite some time after the surgery. Though he didn’t feel a thing during the procedure, having been cut on in so many spots really made his entire torso tender.

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    • Heredity may cause a neck lipoma.
      By: Dasha Petrenko
      Heredity may cause a neck lipoma.
    • Lipomas typically appear in middle age.
      By: Photo-maxx
      Lipomas typically appear in middle age.
    • Neck lipoma are typically slow-growing and painless.
      By: Max Tactic
      Neck lipoma are typically slow-growing and painless.
    • A neck lipoma may cause pain if it is located close to the nerves.
      By: nebari
      A neck lipoma may cause pain if it is located close to the nerves.