Lipoma

A lipoma is a fatty tissue lump between the skin and underlying muscle. It is slow-growing. Lipoma can appear anywhere in the body. Although, typically a lipoma is formed commonly on the neck, shoulders, forearms, arms, and thighs. Lipomas are doughy to touch and usually painless. But they can grow in size and cause nerves in the surrounding to compress. Some lipomas may contain blood vessels, and are called angiolipomas, and are painful.

Lipoma can be painful when it compresses a nerve under it. Or, in the case of angiolipoma, due to the presence of numerous blood vessels in the lipoma.

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Lipoma


A lipoma is a fatty tissue lump between the skin and underlying muscle. It is slow-growing. Lipoma can appear anywhere in the body. Although, typically a lipoma is formed commonly on the neck, shoulders, forearms, arms, and thighs. 

Individuals may develop more than one lipoma at a time. Doctors generally do not recommend the removal of a lipoma if it is not bothersome. However, if it causes pain or is growing in size the doctor may remove it.

Lipomas are doughy to touch and usually painless. But they can grow in size and cause nerves in the surrounding to compress. Some lipomas may contain blood vessels, and are called angiolipomas, and are painful. 


Causes of Lipoma


  • ​The cause of the occurrence of lipomas has not been specifically detected. Although, it seems to be a genetic condition, as it runs in families. Aging may also play a part in their formation, as the frequency of observed lipomas is in the population above the age of 40 years. 
  • Lipomas also are formed after an injury; however, the exact cause has not yet been identified.

In certain cases, inherited conditions have been identified as responsible for the formation of lipomas. These include:

  • ​Madelung's disease (mostly affects men of Mediterranean lineage having a disorder associated with alcohol use).
  • Adiposis dolorosa (a rare condition characterized by the formation of multiple, painful lipomas).
  • Cowden syndrome.
  • Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome.
  • Gardner's syndrome (rare cases).


Symptoms of Lipoma


A lipoma is quite distinct from many other types of skin tumors. Following are the features that distinguish a lipoma:

  • ​Soft to touch, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter (can grow in size).
  • Moves easily when touched with a finger.
  • Located just below the skin.
  • Without discoloration and of skin color.
  • Slow growing.

They may grow on the stomach and on the back, apart from the usual locations on the body where they form. Lipoma can be painful when it compresses a nerve under it. Or, in the case of angiolipoma, due to the presence of numerous blood vessels in the lipoma. 

In case of an anomaly, the doctor should be contacted, to eliminate the doubt of a rare, similar-looking, liposarcoma (a cancerous condition).


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