- What is a lipoma?
- What causes a lipoma?
- What are the symptoms of a lipoma?
- Who is most at risk for developing lipomas?
- What are the treatments for lipomas?
What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a benign lump that grows inside the skin, usually composed of fatty tissue. It usually grows slowly and is located between the skin layer and underneath the muscle layer. Lipomas are more common in middle age, are usually painless and appear most often on the upper back, shoulders and abdomen.
What causes a lipoma?
The cause of lipoma growth is unknown. It is likely that they have a genetic component, so if your parents or other family members have lipomas, then you may also be prone to developing them. They can often appear after an injury, although the reason for their appearance is unknown.
Although people of any age can develop lipomas, they are more prevalent in adults between 40 and 60 years of age.
A lipoma is a benign, painless lump.
What are the symptoms of a lipoma?
As mentioned above, lipomas are usually painless, although they can cause some pain if pressure is placed on nearby nerves. They are soft, pasty lumps that vary in size from pea-sized to grapefruit-sized. The lumps may move slightly if you press on them.
Who is most at risk for developing lipomas?
Although lipomas can occur at any age, they are most common among adults 40 to 60 years of age. In addition, people with the following conditions are at increased risk for developing one or more lipomas:
- Madelung’s disease
- Gardner’s syndrome
- Cowden’s syndrome
- Adiposis dolorosum or Dercum’s disease
What are the treatments for lipomas?
Lipomas usually do not cause any problems if left untouched, however, they can be treated if necessary.
The most common way to treat lipomas is to remove them surgically. This can be done by either a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. The surgery involves making an incision to remove the fatty tissue, before suturing the opening. Although rare, there is a risk that the lipoma may return.
Liposuction is another treatment option, which reduces the size of the lipoma and uses a needle to remove the fat inside the lipoma.
Finally, steroid injections may be used to treat the lipoma. Steroid injection works by reducing the size of the lipoma, although this treatment does not completely eliminate the lipoma.