Understanding LipomasRead Time: 2 minutes
A lipoma is a growth that develops under the skin due to overgrowth of fat cells. This type of tumor is non-cancerous. Many people who suffer from lipoma wish to have the tumor removed because of the appearance. Lipomas can appear on any area of the body which has fat cells. This includes the thighs, neck, trunk, chest, shoulders, and armpits.
Causes of lipomas
Medical experts do not completely understand what causes a lipoma. In rare cases, people may inherit a faulty gene from parents, which can lead to a lipoma. Lipomas may also occur more frequently in people who suffer from other conditions including Cowden syndrome, Gardner’s syndrome or Madelung’s disease.
Lipoma symptoms and complications
Lipomas present as a soft lump beneath the skin. Unless the tumor affects organs, joints, blood vessels, or nerves, this condition is usually painless. Typically, lipomas do not cause other symptoms. A person may have a lipoma deep within the skin without being able to see or feel the growth. There are several different types of lipomas. These include:
- Conventional lipomas: which are made of common white fat cells.
- Fibrolipomas: which consist of fat cells and fibrous tissue.
- Myelolipomas: which are comprised of fat cells and tissue that make blood cells.
- Pleomorphic lipomas: which consist of fat cells of different shapes and sizes.
Treatment for lipomas is usually not necessary. However, if the condition is bothering the patient because the tumor is unsightly, painful, or the tumor is growing, the lipoma can be removed. There are two methods of lipoma removal: surgical and using liposuction.
Surgical removal of lipomas involves making a small incision and cutting the growth out. Lipomas an also be removed through liposuction, which might be most beneficial if the lipoma is on an area where the patient wants to avoid scarring.
Lipomas rarely recur after removal. Possible side effects of surgical removal include bruising and scarring. If the lipoma is small, minimal excision extraction can result in less scar tissue. Patients with lipoma who wish to have the growth removed should discuss the options with a physician.