Lipoma in the Breast

A lipoma in the breast is a benign tumor that is not cancerous. Lipomas are fatty tumors that can grow anywhere in the body. They are usually not painful and do not raise your risk of cancer.

Lipomas in the breast have very few symptoms. This article discusses the possible signs and potential causes of lipomas in the breast. It also covers risk factors and when to seek tests or treatment for your symptoms. 

Middle-aged woman performing a self-breast exam at home.

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Symptoms of a Lipoma in the Breast

Lipomas are small fatty tumors that rarely cause noticeable signs or symptoms. A lipoma in the breast may cause symptoms if it is large enough to be felt. Symptoms of a lipoma in the breast may include:

  • A lump just under the skin
  • Skin that is soft and doughy to the touch
  • Skin that causes pain when you press it over a nerve or joint
  • A lump that can develop as a single lump or a cluster

Types of Benign Breast Tumors

A benign tumor is a noncancerous growth. Benign tumors that may grow in the breast include:

  • Cyst: A fluid-filled sac in the breast
  • Fibroadenoma: A tumor made up of glandular or connective tissue
  • Intraductal papilloma: A wart-like tumor that grows in the milk ducts
  • Hamartoma: A painless tumor made up of fatty or fibrous tissue 
  • Neurofibroma: A tumor made up of nerve cells
  • Hematoma: A collection of blood caused by internal bleeding
  • Hemangioma: A tumor made from blood vessels 
  • Adenomyoepithelioma: A tumor made up of cells from the milk duct walls

Causes of a Lipoma in the Breast

The cause of a lipoma in the breast is usually unknown. Some research indicates that it may be related to an injury in the area. Trauma or injury to the breast could lead to increased production of fat cells and fatty tumors. Your risk of lipoma may increase if you have a family history of lipomas.

Lipomas in the breast may be associated with the following conditions:

  • Multiple hereditary lipomatosis (a rare inherited condition characterized by numerous lipomas in the abdominal area, arms, or legs)
  • Gardner syndrome (a genetic condition involving growths called polyps inside and outside of the colon)
  • Adiposis dolorosa (a condition where the lipomas or folds of fatty tissue apply pressure to nerves, causing pain)
  • Madelung disease (a rare disorder characterized by growths in the upper part of the body, such as the neck, arms, shoulders, and chest)

How to Treat a Lipoma in the Breast

Lipomas are usually harmless and do not require treatment. If you have a painful or very large lipoma, your healthcare provider may recommend removing it. Surgery or liposuction can remove a lipoma.

A 2017 study found that removing lipomas with liposuction was associated with fewer adverse effects, like scarring, pain, and complications. When removed, lipomas have a very low rate of recurrence. 

Complications and Risk Factors Associated With Lipomas in the Breast

Most lipomas are harmless and do not lead to complications. However, if your lipoma is very large or is rapidly growing, it could start to press on nerves, blood vessels, or joints. This could lead to pain and discomfort. 

Risk factors for a lipoma in the breast include injury to the area and a family history of lipomas.

Are There Tests to Diagnose the Cause of a Lipoma in the Breast?

If you notice a soft lump in your breast, your healthcare provider will recommend diagnostic tests to rule out breast cancer. Tests to expect include:

  • Physical exam: Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam, including a breast exam. They may be able to diagnose a lipoma based on this alone.
  • Mammogram: A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray for screening and diagnosing breast cancer. It may show breast lipomas.
  • Breast ultrasound: A breast ultrasound uses soundwaves to provide an image of the breast tissue. It can detect lipomas more clearly than an ultrasound can.
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Your healthcare provider may recommend a breast MRI if the mammogram or ultrasound does not provide clear results.
  • Breast biopsy: If your symptoms or diagnostic tests suggest that you may have breast cancer, your provider may recommend a breast biopsy. This procedure involves taking a sample of tissue or fluid from the breast lump and studying it under a microscope. 

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Anytime you feel a new lump in your breast, it is important to see your healthcare provider. This is especially essential if you or a family member have a history of cancer. 

See your healthcare provider immediately if you feel a lump and show signs of breast cancer. Symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Swelling in the breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area
  • Irritation of the skin on the breast or nipple
  • Pulling in of the nipple area 


A lipoma in the breast is a benign tumor made up of fat cells. It is usually harmless and painless. If the lipoma is large, it could lead to symptoms, including a lump under the skin that feels soft and doughy. If the lipoma presses on a nerve, blood vessel, or joint, it could cause pain.

Lipomas usually do not require treatment. If it is causing issues such as pain, your healthcare provider may recommend removing the lipoma with surgery or liposuction. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes lipomas in the breast?

    The cause of lipomas in the breast is usually unknown. An injury to the area or a family history of lipomas could raise your risk of experiencing a breast lipoma.

  • What does a lipoma in the breast feel like?

    A lipoma in the breast is usually small and does not cause symptoms. You may feel a soft, doughy lump right under the skin if it is large. Lipomas are typically painless.

  • How can I get rid of a lipoma in my breast?

    Most lipomas do not require treatment. If it is very large or causing pain, your healthcare provider may recommend removing the lipoma with surgery or liposuction. There are no home remedies for getting rid of lipomas.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Cancer Society. Radial scars and some other non-cancerous breast conditions.

  2. Charifa A, Azmat CE, Badri T. Lipoma pathology. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; December 2021.

  3. Peev I, Spasevska L, Mirchevska E, et al. Liposuction assisted lipoma removal - option or alternative? Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2017;5(6):766-770. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2017.186

  4. American Cancer Society. Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.