When A Bump Isn’t Just A Bump: When To Schedule Lipoma Removal

  • Dermatology
  • dermatology - Skin Care
  • April 18, 2022

Lipomas are harmless, non-cancerous bumps that appear on the skin. There are some exceptional cases where a lipoma removal is best.

The Lump That Won’t Go Away

Noticed a bump forming under the skin lately? Everyone gets bumps from time to time. But if the little knob is not going away, this could be a lipoma. Almost anyone can get lipomas. There are about 1 in 1000 cases yearly. While most are harmless, there are cases where a lipoma removal may be best.

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A big bump ahead

A lipoma is an overgrowth of fatty tissue that presents as a bump. These pockets of fat sit under the epidermis. However, the growths can develop on the dermis. Lipomas could be as small as 1-2 centimeters or as large as 20 centimeters. The lumps grow slowly and are usually painless and harmless. These growths are made up of benign tissue and usually found on the neck, back, arms, and shoulders. Lipomas are rubbery and can move when touched.

Straight out of nowhere

No one knows where lipomas come from. Researchers, however, have found some correlations. Lipomas seem to be hereditary and congenital. Obesity is not a factor; however, some researchers noticed a connection with the obesity gene. Some lipomas developed after a blow to the area. And rare conditions like Madelung’s disease, Dercum’s disease, and Cowden’s syndrome have lipomas as symptoms.

The only reasons to consider removal

As most lipomas are not harmful, doctors will often decide against a lipoma removal. However, there are some cases where scheduling removal is a good idea. As lipomas are visible, many choose removal for purely cosmetic reasons. Some lipomas can get large, becoming uncomfortable and causing social issues. An excision can restore confidence and remove social anxiety. In some cases, lipomas can rest on surrounding nerves, causing pain and numbness. In rare cases, a lipoma could be infected, needing immediate surgery. If non-surgical options like steroids are unsuccessful, then surgery is the next step. Have a candid discussion with a doctor about surgical removal if any of these issues arise.

Cutting the fat

There are two types of lipoma removal. A surgeon may use conventional surgery. This could be minimally invasive or open surgery, depending on the size and location. With any traditional operation, there are risks including infection and scarring. Liposuction is another method to remove the mass with a high success rate. Using a large syringe, the doctor can extract the underlying fat. In most cases, the lipoma does not return.

Get the right guidance for lipomas

In most cases, lipomas are harmless. At most, these masses can be unsightly. In the rare case of pain or an impact on the quality of life, contact a doctor immediately. With the doctor’s advice, persons can schedule a lipoma removal to bury that bump for good.

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