Usually forming between skin and muscle, a lipoma is simply an unusual store of fat. It’s not cancerous, nor will it usually cause pain, unless there are nerves or blood vessels nearby. However, lipomas appear as lumps under your skin, so it’s best to have these checked by a medical professional to confirm self-diagnosis.
While most lipomas are small, some reach a substantial size. Visit MD Vein and Skin Specialists to both confirm the growth is a lipoma, and to have it safely removed. Dr. Clement Banda is an experienced dermatologist as well as a phlebologist. He and our team can make quick work of your lipoma.
The origins of a lipoma
It’s not fully known why lipomas form on some people and not on others. The condition tends to run in families, suggesting that there is a genetic factor involved. They’re more common in people over 40, though this may simply be because of the time it takes for lipomas to become large enough to notice.
If you have an unusual lump that’s hard and tender, it’s not likely a lipoma, which tends to be soft and putty-like. Most are less than two inches in diameter, but they can be larger and they may slowly grow over time.
The most common locations for these lumps are the upper back, shoulders, and neck, though you could also see them on the arms, abdomen, and thighs. It’s possible for a lipoma to form anywhere on the body and you might also have more than one.
Not usually a cause of pain
Lipomas, on their own, won’t cause pain, but if they are near nerve tissue, they could possibly irritate the nerve. Similarly, the presence of blood vessels in a lipoma could increase the chances of tenderness or pain.
Usually, a lipoma can be recognized with a physical examination, though Dr. Banda may take a tissue sample to confirm the composition of a lump. In extreme cases, diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray or CT scan, may be necessary if the lipoma is large and has unusual features.
It’s usually not necessary to remove a lipoma unless it’s a cosmetic issue for you. They can be cut away surgically or drained with liposuction. Larger lipomas could result in scars with conventional excision techniques, so there are procedures designed to remove these with minimal intervention. Lipomas usually don’t recur at the same site, but you may develop them in other locations.
While a lipoma is generally nothing to worry about, any swelling or growth beneath the skin should be evaluated to rule out more serious causes. Contact MD Vein & Skin Specialists by phone or online to arrange an exam with Dr. Banda. Be safe rather than sorry where your skin is concerned, and book a consultation now.