Pictures, Causes, and Treatment for Lipoma
What is a Lipoma?
Lipoma is a growth of a lump or mass on the skin which is made up of fat cells. Sometimes this lump is misidentified by others as something malignant but in fact it’s a benign, noncancerous, slow-growing tumor. These growths may occur in different parts of the body and the possibility of multiple growths is to be expected. Lipomas are movable even with just from a slight touch or pressure. People of all ages are prone to lipoma formation, but are common in middle age.
The formations of a lump or mass that may either be multiple are quite noticeable to the naked eye. The mass is located under the skin. These growths may be commonly found at the torso, neck, thighs, arms and armpits but may also grow on some internal organs. We should remember that these growths are harmless and are not cancerous.
Lipoma sizes vary from each person but they are usually small. But gradually its size may grow over the years, but usually it does not. These lumps develop to a round, flattened figure that are soft and rubbery to touch. Lipomas are not painful but once these lumps grow near or at vital organs, pain may be felt by the affected person. Squeezing the lipomas would also generate pain.
Complications occur depending on the location and size of the tissue involved. If there is organ involvement, most likely unwanted results are expected. This growth is considered not dangerous. But when it can press on our nerves and cause debilitating pain onto the patient, prompt intervention is to be done. So in order to avoid complications, it is much advised that you seek medical help from a doctor.
Tests for this condition would include a physical examination, a biopsy of a sample tissue from the lump and an imaging test is necessary if the mass is too large and has unusual features. A biopsy, MRI and CT scan is necessary when the doctor suspects liposarcoma and to rule out other conditions.
A simple family background of lipomas can predispose a person to have these growths. This would only present risk to a person when a family history supports the case. But the exact or root cause of lipoma has not been found. From reports given, trauma or minor injuries to the skin may trigger the growth of a lipoma. But this link is not entirely supported and explained.
Other related risk dactors for lipoma have been suggested and it includes the Dercum’s disease. Dercum disease or the adiposis dolorosa is a rare condition that manifests painful lipomas. These lipomas are found mostly on the patient’s trunk, upper arms and legs. A familial disorder has been linked to lipoma formation. The familial multiple lipomatosis is a rare inherited condition that is characterized by the formation of multiple benign lipomas. Gardner’s syndrome is characterized by the formation of multiple polyps in the colon. This condition may predispose colon lipomas and also to the development of colon cancer.
Before consulting your doctor once you observed a slow-growing lump on your skin, remember that you sum up all the symptoms you noticed associated with the lump. Making a list of all the medications may be necessary to identify and rule out other causes for the mass formation. This can help the doctor in diagnosing your problem and also treating your condition.
First in line for the lipoma treatment is steroid or phosphatidylcholine injections. This remedy would result to shrinking of the lipomas but it won’t result to complete shrinking or removal of the mass. This method would trigger lipolysis (breaking down lipids).
Liposuction can also be one. This procedure uses a needle and large syringe to remove the mass. This is made as an option if the lipoma is soft and involves a small connective tissue component. This is very much advised in cosmetics for less scarring would be attained after this procedure. Regrowth cannot be avoided especially when it involves large lipomas.
The surgical removal of a lipoma is done by cutting whole the mass. Once removed, the possibility of recurrence is ruled out. But certain criterion is also followed before surgical intervention is done. When the patient is continuously feeling pain on the lipoma site or tenderness is not easily relieved, the doctor would suggest removal. Once infection or inflammation has developed in the area, this procedure is done. A foul-smelling discharge shall be removed during the surgery. And once the lipoma or lipomas are becoming a hindrance to day to day living, and has become unsightly and is continuing to grow in size, the doctor would consider the surgical removal of these growths.
Usually, this procedure is done as an out-patient basis. No need to have a general anesthesia conducted, unless there is involvement of the internal organs. A local anesthesia is sufficient enough for the removal of a superficial lipoma.
Lipoma Removal Cost
The average cost for lipoma removal is 1,600 USD. But the cheapest has been noted to be $200 in the US. Usually the cost would vary especially for the size of the tumor and the amount of anesthesia to be inducted. The doctor’s fee is also considered.
Surgical cost would include the risks after the procedure. The removal of the lump would depend on the location and the proximity of nerves. The doctor would always consider the preservation of nerves found nearby the lipoma. There are also instances that the doctor would remove the patient’s muscle temporarily and re-attach it. This is only possible to cases of deep lipomas. But surgical complications are always present. This would entirely depend on the size and location of the lipoma. Nerve involvement and damage is to be always considered.
After the complete removal of the lipomas, recurrence is always asked by the patients to their doctors. Chances of recurrence are relatively high if the lipoma is deep and large in size. But superficial lipomas after excision have low chances of recurrence.