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.
In certain cases, inherited conditions have been identified as responsible for the formation of lipomas. These include:
A lipoma is quite distinct from many other types of skin tumors. Following are the features that distinguish a lipoma:
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).
The doctor begins with a physical evaluation of the lipoma. A biopsy can be recommended to study the tissue sample should the doctor be dissatisfied with the physical examination alone.
An X-ray, CT, or MRI scan may be prescribed if the lipoma is larger than usual and has any unusual features. As also as cases where the lipoma is assumed to be deeper than the fatty tissue.
In a rare case where the liposarcoma (cancerous tumor in fatty tissue) presents as a lipoma, which spreads rapidly, imaging techniques are employed for diagnoses followed by an appropriate treatment regimen.
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 by:
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