What exactly is lipoma? Should I be worried if I have one?
What is a Lipoma?
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Doctor Answers 21
What is a Lipoma?
Lipomas are subcutaneous fatty growths that are benign. Patients typically want them removed because they are unsightly or by pressing on nerves are uncomfortable. They typically start small and gradually enlarge to as much as 5-10 cm in diameter over a period of years.
There are genetic and familial aspects to lipomas. The large, rubbery lipomas are usually solitary. 60% are associated with an identifiable chromosomal abnormality, while patients with multiple, small lipomas on their chest, arms and legs often have a family history and there are no chromosomal changes.
Under the microscope the lipoma cells look just like ordinary fat cells. They can have a thin capsule around them, which the surgeon will try to dissect free of surrounding skin and tissue to try to get all the lipoma cells out. This is not always possible, so even if lipomas are surgically removed, they can recur.
Removal is done by some variant of a surgical technique: direct excision, liposuction, and my preferred method, laser dissolution followed by aspiration through a minimal, hidden incision.
Lipomas are the most common benign tumor; they are composed of adipose tissue. Sometimes these soft, usually mobile masses can grow in size and become an aesthetic or functional concern.
Malignant transformation of lipomas into liposarcomas it's extremely rare ( and controversial).
Generally, I recommend excision to allow for pathologic evaluation (which is the only way to make a definitive diagnosis).
Lipomas: benign fatty tumors
Lipomas are benign fatty tumors that are exceedingly common. We are insulated with fat beneath our skin over the entire surface of our bodies. Therefore, it's not surprising that a maverick fat cell will start growing unchecked. Fortunately, lipoma removal is usually straightforward and can be performed under local anesthesia. We also have laughing gas available.
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Lipomas are, in plain English, tumors consisting of adipose, or fatty, tissue. They can be familial and some people have lipomatosis, a condition in which they form multiple such masses on an ongoing basis. The treatment is excision. I recommend this because they will grow and become more difficult to manage, with longer scarring, and there is a risk of malignant degeneration in larger tumors.
What is a Lipoma
Limomas are benign fatty growths beneath the skin surface. Over time they tend to enlarge slightly but do not destroy the normal tissue nearby and do not metastasize or spread to other sites. As such, they do not need to be treated unless they are becoming symptomatic or problematic based on their size or where they are located. It's best to see a dermatologist to evaluate the lesion to assure it is a benign lipoma and whether it should be treated.
lipomas are benign fatty tumors. they come in varying size and can sometimes cause dramatic symptoms. i have removed them from the size of a football on down to the size of a pea. some can be symptomatic and can grow in size. i once had one cause impengement on the radial nerve in the wrist and caused posterior interosseus syndrome.
Lipoma is a benign growth of fatty tissue.
A lipoma is a benign, harmless growth of extra fatty tissue. It may have some blood vessels mixed in and be referred to as an angiolipoma. These can sometimes be sore or tender, but are still harmless. There are very rare cases of malignant tumors of fatty tissue called liposarcomas, but this is the rare exception.
Lipoma evaluation and treatment
Not all subcutaneous nodule is a lipoma. Lipoma is a benign proliferation of fatty tissues due to a combination of genetic tendencies and/or trauma. Besides lipoma, the other likely possibility is an epidermal inclusion cyst. Very rarely, one may encounter a malignant cousin of lipoma known as liposarcoma. One should get evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.
Lipomas are benign fatty growths that pose no risk except cosmetic concerns. They tend to have a characteristic look and feel. Remember that these are deep under the skin so that the diagnosis is impossible to be 1005 certain what it is without more extensive imaging or biopsy. See a dermatologist who is the most highly trained person to make this diagnosis for you and help you with the management of these lesions.
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.