A lipoma is a lump composed of body fat positioned right under the skin. It grows slowly between the skin and the muscle layer. It feels doughy and soft to the touch and it is usually easily movable with a slight finger pressure. Lipomas usually appear among middle-aged adults, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot ever occur among younger adults and children. A person can have more than one lipoma. They usually appear on the arms, neck, shoulders, back, abdomen and the thighs. They can be very small, less than one centimeter, but they can sometimes grow up to six centimeters. Lipomas are painless and harmless. Treatments for lipomas aren’t necessary, but they can be surgically removed if they bother the person or become very big or painful.
Lipomas have usually the following appearances:
- Small (untypically, some can be very large and deep)
- Just under the skin
- Possibly painful (if they grow and press nearby nerves or if they contain may blood vessels)
Lipomas aren’t usually dangerous medical condition, but it is advisable to visit the doctor to have the lipomas checked for any case.
It is still not understood what the cause for occurrence of lipomas is. It is likely that the genetic factors for inheriting are involved in the development of lipomas, as they generally run in families.
Factors that make the risk of developing lipoma greater are:
- Age-if the person is between 40 and 60 years of age it is more likeable to develop lipomas; although most common in middle-aged people, lipomas can occur at any age, but are really rare among children
- Disorders-having disorders such as: adiposis dolorosa, Cowden syndrome and Gardner’s syndrome
- Genetics-lipomas usually tend to appear in families
It is not necessary to treat lipomas. Anyway, a surgery can be performed if the lipomas are growing and becoming painful, or the affected person simply finds them bothering. Most of the lipomas are surgically removed by cutting the lipomas off. Usually, no recurrences of lipoma happen after the surgery. Possible side effects that can happen because of the surgery are bruising and scarring. There is another technique known as minimal excision extraction that usually makes less scarring. Another treatment for lipomas may be steroid injections. These injections only shrink the lipomas in size, but do not eliminate them. A liposuction can also be done to remove the fatty lump.