What Are The Causes Of Lipoma? 12 Common Triggers

Lipoma is a benign tumor that develops in the body’s fat cells. It is common in areas with a high-fat concentration, such as the arms, neck, and trunk. It can be fixed to underlying structures or freely moveable.

In some cases, lipomas might be present at birth, but they usually appear during one’s teenage years and become more common with age. They can grow up to 1 inch (2 cm) in diameter and do not affect health unless they are pressing against nerves or blood vessels, causing pain or restricting movement.

Lipomas can affect both men and women regardless of age and race. There is no known cause for lipomas. However, certain risk factors and causes can increase your chance of developing them. Let us take a look at them below.


Genetics can cause lipoma. A specific genetic mutation increases the risk of lipoma development and is present in about one percent of the population. The mutation is common in people with European ancestry but has also been found in people living in the Middle East and Africa. Lipomas are caused by a change in a gene known as the LMNA-A3 gene, which codes for proteins that normally form the nuclear envelope. 

When the LMNA-A3 gene is mutated, proteins resulting from the gene’s activity are damaged or not produced. These proteins help maintain the integrity of other important proteins known as lamins, which are found in large quantities within cells. Without normal amounts of lamins, protein structures called nuclear lamina fibers become abnormal and eventually die off. As these lamina fibers disappear, they are replaced by fat cells known as adipocytes, lipoma begins to form when there aren’t enough healthy lamin proteins to prevent their formation.

This information explains why lipomas are more common among some populations than others: the rate at which mutations occur can depend on both environmental factors and genetic traits. For example, those with a family member with lipoma may be more likely to develop lipoma than those who don’t.