What is Lipoma? Symptoms, Lipoma Treatment by Dr Sharafat Ali

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What-is-Lipoma

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Lipomas are non-cancerous lumps caused by an overgrowth of fat cells. They can form anywhere on the body but are most common on the neck, shoulders, abdomen, and back. They are usually just under the skin, shaped like a dome, and soft to touch.

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They occur in about one in every 1,000 people in the US. and about one in 100 people in the UK. Doctors are unsure of what causes lipomas, but believe it may be due to an inherited faulty gene or physical trauma. Most do not cause any pain unless they are deep in the body and press on nerves or organs.

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If a lipoma affects the bowels, it may cause constipation and nausea. Most lipomas do not need removing, but surgery may be necessary if the growth is large, causing symptoms or unsightly.

What are the symptoms of lipoma?

Lipomas aren’t usually painful, but they can be uncomfortable if they press against a nerve or develop near a joint. Many people who have lipoma don’t notice any symptoms. Lipomas are usually:

Encapsulated: They don’t spread to the tissues surrounding them.

Painless: However, some lipomas cause pain and discomfort depending on their location, size, and if blood vessels are present.

Round or oval-shaped: The fatty lumps of rubbery tissue are usually symmetrical.

Moveable: They sit just beneath the skin’s surface and move when you touch them.

Smaller than 2 inches in diameter: In a few cases, lipomas can be larger than 6 inches wide.

Providers usually diagnose a lipoma during a physical examination. Your provider will touch the lipoma and ask if it’s painful or tender. You may need a biopsy to confirm that the lipoma isn’t cancer. During this procedure, your provider removes a sample of the lipoma and sends it to a lab for testing.

What is the treatment for lipomas?

Most lipomas don’t need treatment. If a lipoma is bothering you, your provider can remove it surgically. Lipoma removal procedures are safe and effective, and you can usually go home the same day.

As an alternative to lipoma surgery, your provider may recommend liposuction to remove the lipoma. Your provider uses a long, thin needle to remove fatty tissue from the growth.

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