Do you feel a bump on your skin but aren’t sure what it is? You may have a lipoma. Lipomas are benign tumors that form from fatty cells. While they are not dangerous, they can be unsightly and sometimes cause pain. If you think you have a lipoma, here’s what you need to know.
What is lipoma?
A lipoma is a fatty lump that grows under the skin and feels soft. They are usually slow-growing and painless. Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the neck, shoulders, back, or abdomen.
Signs and symptoms of lipoma
The most common symptom of lipoma is a small, soft lump that is not painful or tender to the touch. Lipomas can vary in size from a pea to a grapefruit, and they may grow larger over time. Other symptoms can include redness or swelling. In some cases, lipomas can press on surrounding nerves and cause pain, tingling, or numbness.
Is lipoma cancerous, and should I see a dermatologist?
Overall, lipomas are relatively harmless growths that tend to be more of a nuisance than a serious health concern. In rare cases, however, what appears to be lipomas can actually be a serious condition called liposarcoma. This is a type of cancer and requires medical attention. See a dermatologist immediately for a diagnosis if you notice a lump that is hard to the touch, difficult to move, and suddenly painful.
How to tell the difference between a lipoma and a cyst?
Cysts may be filled with fluid, pus, or other substances, whereas lipomas are simply made up of fatty tissue. Also, a cyst has an opening in the middle where fluid can drain out.
What are the different types of lipomas?
There are several different types of lipomas, including angiolipomas and fibrolipomas. Angiolipomas are characterized by the presence of blood vessels and can feel painful. Fibrolipomas, as their name suggests, contain fibrous tissue. Other types of lipomas include:
- Conventional: Made up of white fat cells and is the most common type. The most common type.
- Hibernoma: Consists of brown fat.
- Spindle cell: Made up of long fat cells.
- Pleomorphic: These contain different sized and shaped fat cells.
- Myelolipoma: These lipomas are made up blood-cell producing tissues
What causes lipoma, and is it preventable?
The cause of lipomas is unknown, but they are more likely to occur in people with a family history of the condition. Lipomas are not preventable.
Treatment options for lipomas
Lipomas usually don’t require treatment, but there are some instances where they may need to be removed. This is typically done for cosmetic reasons or if the lipoma is causing pain or discomfort. Surgery to remove a lipoma is generally a simple, outpatient procedure. The surgeon will make a small incision in the skin and then carefully remove the tumor. Liposuction is also a possibility for lipoma removal.
There is no known way to prevent lipomas from developing. However, early detection and treatment can help minimize any potential complications. Be sure to see a doctor if you notice any new lumps or growths on your body so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.
When to see a dermatologist
See a dermatologist if you have any concerns about a lump or growth on your body. In most cases, lipomas are benign and require no treatment. However, it’s vital to get any new lump checked out by a professional to rule out other conditions, such liposarcoma.
If you have any concerns about a lump or growth on your body, it’s essential to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis. Lipomas are usually benign and require no treatment, but in some cases, they may need to be removed. Early detection and treatment can help minimize any potential complications.
Do you have a lump that you need a professional to check out? Contact the Skin and Cancer Institute today for an appointment.