Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
To diagnose a lipoma, your doctor may perform:
- A physical exam
- A tissue sample removal (biopsy) for lab examination
- An ultrasound or other imaging test, such as an MRI or CT scan, if the lipoma is large, has unusual features or appears to be deeper than the fatty tissue
There's a very small chance that a lump resembling a lipoma may actually be a form of cancer called liposarcoma. Liposarcomas — cancerous tumors in fatty tissues — grow rapidly, don't move under the skin and are usually painful. A biopsy, MRI or CT scan is typically done if your doctor suspects liposarcoma.
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