I'm 25 years old and just got diagnosed with multiple lipomas in my mid to lower back. They are generally small right now, and only cause a little pain here and there. I have noticed most form on my hip bone, and one or two are next to my spine. Should I have these removed now? How quickly do they grow? Do they always get bigger? I don't want scarring, nor do I want them to start showing! Also, will I get lipomas elsewhere on my body? Please help!
Do Lipomas Always Continue to Grow?
Doctor Answers 11
Multiple Lipoma Behavior
Although this condition is benign, many patients concerned with cosmesis seek removal of individual tumors. Treatment can include simple excision, endoscopic removal, or liposuction if large. Liposuction, whether laser Liposuction or traditional will leave some of the lipoma cells behind which over time will probably recur though it may take years.
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Removing lipomas with small scars
Lipomas are best removed early, before they enlarge. That is the best way to ensure that the scars are minimized.
Lipomas are benign growths that are unpredictable, that is to say just like any mole, a lipoma may either stay the same size it is now, or potentially grow, but no one can predict what will happen to it. If it bothers you, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can safely remove it surgically for you (local anesthetic), and the scar is typically much smaller and nicer than the large lipoma lump.
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Lipomas should be removed if causing symptoms
Most lipomas are innocuous. The problem is that rarely, masses that present like lipomas can in fact be something else. Lipomas do grow and become larger, however they usually grow very slowly. When they become large enough to detect and/or cause pain symptoms they should be removed...mostly to exclude a more concerning problem...particularly if they get larger over a short time span.
Management of growing lipomas
Lipomas are lobules of exuberant fatty tissue proliferation that come about because of combination of genetic predisposition and/or trauma. However, lipomas typically do not grow and those that do should undergo excisional biopsy to rule out epidermal inclusion cyst, reactive or malignant lymph node, or very rarely liposarcoma.
Variable rate of growth for lipomas
Lipomas have a variable rate of growth. If these lipomas are benign, direct excision is the best treatment. This will completely remove the lipoma and should leave a minimal scar. Your best bet is to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who will explain to you the treatment options and a surgical plan and what techniques they plan to use to minimize the location and optimize the appearance of your final scar.
Multiple lipomas are common
Multiple lipomas are commonly seen. These are benign fatty growths.They are of different varieties, fibro-lipomas, angio-lipomas, some are well encapsulated, some are not.
They can grow or remain as is for long time. if there is sudden growth theen these have to be removed. Surgical removal is preferable because then they are sent for pathology. Removing a lipoma by surgery WILL LEAVE A SCAR. That is the trade off.
Lipomas are not predictable, but are benign
Whichever plan you decide to pursue will be all right.
Lipomas are benign fatty growths that do not grow quickly, but of course they must grow from somewhere, so they do grow. If a lipoma is small, does not show without touching it, and is not painful, I recommend generally leaving it alone. Sometimes blood vessels may mix into a lipoma (angiolipoma), in which case it is still benign, but may be more painful at times. These are more appealing to remove, depending on how much they bother you. Lipomas can generally be removed through a scar MUCH smaller than the lipoma itself, if you go to a careful skin surgeon (dermatologic or plastic surgeon). Some lipomas have deep origins in the muscle, and therefore are difficult to remove completely without risk of recurrence.
Depending on how close the lipomas are to your spine, I would consider removing those for prevention of pressure on the muscles and nerves in your back. The hip lipomas are more optional, and depend mostly on whether they show. You are a young woman so this may matter more to you than it would to say, an older gentleman who is unlikely to have this area show in a bathing suit.
It is possible that you have a tendency to make multiple small lipomas, so it's hard to predict if you will get more in other areas. You may not.
At any time, removal is optional, but if you do decide to pursue it, I would recommend removing the most bothersome one alone first, to see how it heals and what kind of long term scar forms. If that scar is not a problem for you, it will give you more information about what to do next. Of course, any tissue that is removed should always be sent for pathologic review to make sure the lipoma is just that.
Lipomas Generally Do Not Grow
Lipomas are common benign fatty deposits. These do not grow. Occassionally a lipoma can grow a lot and start causing pressure symptoms in its vicinity. In these cases it should be removed for comfort, relief of symptoms and to establish its histopathology (biopsy).
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.