A benign tumour of the adipose tissue that can develop in any part of the body and has very different shape and dimensions is called Lipoma. The treatment is always surgical.
What is a Lipoma?
A lipoma is a harmless, soft, fatty lump that develops under the skin, and for the most part, it can be left as it was.
Lipoma is a benign tumour consisting of fat cells (adipose cells). Lipoma usually grows in the subcutaneous tissue, that is, just below the skin.
Lipoma is not cancer, nor is it a cancer risk. In most cases, a lipoma is completely asymptomatic and requires no treatment unless it is aesthetically uncomfortable or painful.
We still do not know why lipoma arises. As there is a clear familial tendency for the development of this tumour, it is imagined that there is a strong genetic component in its formation. Some cases of lipoma appear to arise after local trauma, but this relationship has not yet been proven.
There is no direct relationship between having more fat and the risk of developing lipomas. Being obese, for example, is not a risk factor. There appears to be, however, a greater risk of lipoma arising when the lean individual suddenly gains weight. This lipoma, however, does not disappear if the patient loses weight.
In the vast majority of cases, the lipoma is a small rounded protuberance that arises beneath the skin. Most lipomas measure between 1 and 3 cm, but some of them can reach up to 10 cm in diameter.
The features described above help to distinguish a lipoma from a malignant tumour, such as liposarcoma. Malignant tumours are usually present as a hardened mass, slightly mobile, painful to the palpation and with irregular borders. The rate of growth of lipoma tends to be very slow, over the years, unlike malignant tumours, which usually grow faster.
Shoulders, neck, trunk, and arms are the sites most frequently affected by lipoma. However, any site in the body where there is subcutaneous fat may develop a lipoma.
Although they can get to scare visually, the truth is that Lipomas are usually asymptotic in their entirety. This means that they do not present any type of symptom in their early stages of development. In the same way, it can disappear without warning of the body!
Despite the above, it is true that it can become something much more aggravating. Such is the case of Lipomatosis, multiple Lipomas that can appear everywhere. These, in turn, can become what is known as Adiposis, derived from the multiple Lipomas that lie in your body. Following are the signs of Lipoma:
- Numbness of the body
- Unable to Concentrate
- Bruising Easily
- Warmth sensation
- a headache
- Sensibility - Skin
- Excessive and chronic fatigue.
- General discomfort.
- Excessive swelling of the affected areas.
As stated earlier, they do not present symptoms such as pain in the area or excessive swelling. If so, it is best to consult a specialist so that you can examine that lump of fat. It may be a liposarcoma, a cancerous tumour that can seriously endanger your life.
- There are a number of types of lipoma, which can affect any age and sex, as well as various parts of the body. Here are some examples:
- Subcutaneous superficial lipoma: The most common type of Lipoma that affects women more than men. Lipomas develop mainly in the neck, trunk and forearms.
- Deep intramuscular lipoma: This mainly affects men, aged between 30 and 60. The large muscles of the extremities, in general, between the areas normally affected.
- Lipoma of fusiform cells: it is known to appear on the shoulders and the back of the neck and found to be affecting mostly men ranging between the age of 45 and 64 years of age.
- Angiolipoma Lipoma: It appears mostly in teenage.
- Lipoma lumbosacral: This appears mostly on the shoulders of children but it is also known to affect grown-ups.
- Diffuse Lipomatosis: It is a very rare type of lipoma which takes over the entire body.
- Benign and generalized lipoblastoma: These usually affect the extremities of children and can cause problems of fatal lesions.
People are most likely to be diagnosed with lipoma in their life at some point because of the high incidence rate.
Usually, Lipoma occurs without any particular cause. This is true in most cases, Lipoma might appear without any reason or underlying disease. Studies claim that they can be hereditary, being more likely to develop if a family member suffers from these lumps. In the same way, they can also be associated with excessive acne that a person can possess. Therefore, it is not surprising that they appear in adolescence!
Among the risk factors that can proliferate the causes of Lipomas in the body can be:
- Being overweight, which usually brings with it an accumulation of fats throughout the body.
- Strong blows propitiated in the areas of the back and the shoulders.
- Large quantities of alcohol being consumed in a regular pattern.
- Specific medical conditions such as liver diseases or high blood glucose levels.
- Have an average age between 40 and 60 years.
Basically, Lipoma can occur to anyone and it is very hard to prevent them.
In the vast majority of cases, the only palpation of a tumour is sufficient to define that the lesion is a lipoma. If, however, the mass is hard, poorly mobile, painful, or if it has any other unusual features to the lipoma, the doctor may request an ultrasound or a biopsy of the lesion to make sure that it is a benign tumour.
Whether it is an ordinary Lipoma or something much worse, it is still necessary to diagnose it. In this way, you are sure that this fat is not harmful to your health.
The specialist who will assist you will surely give you physical tests and ask questions related to your medical history. In addition, it is more than likely that they perform a biopsy to make sure that this lump is not carcinogenic. Ultrasounds are also common!
All of these diagnosis methods can confirm whether the lump is Lipoma or not. If so, it is up to you to notify the specialist if you wish to extract it immediately.
Do not hesitate to consult a professional. Certain lumps that look benign might be cancerous as well!
Since they are usually asymptotic and not very bothersome, it is normal that they do not need any treatment.
However, this class of cell clusters often looks aesthetically poor in the human body. In addition, in rare but true occasions they can get to develop pains and discomforts at a corporal level. In those cases, it is necessary to treat them.
Regarding the treatments, it is usually used in surgical procedures and external to the body. In other words, it is usually removed. Among these procedures to treat them you can find:
The liposuction procedure that involves sucking fat within the lipoma. This is usually done by making a small incision in the affected area.
Surgical excision is the most common technique when it comes to removing them. In the first instance, a small incision is made in the skin after having been properly sedated. Immediately afterwards, the affected area is operated in a simple and almost painless way. This operation usually does not last more than an hour and is the most effective way to eradicate the Lipoma!
Another method is in which corticosteroid blisters, a particular substance is injected to reduce its size. This method is somewhat uncertain and does not usually work perfectly in most cases.
Despite what may seem, if the surgical treatment is not performed by a skilled doctor, there might be several complications. These consequences are usually not common, but there is certainly a latent risk factor for these treatments. The complications are usually the following:
- That the Lipoma wound becomes infected after surgery.
- That you get to cause a fat embolism.
- That, thanks to surgery, the blood vessels of the body are severely injured. This can compromise vascular tissue!
- That the Lipoma is poorly removed or treated, causing deformations in the skin.
- They begin to proliferate Seromas in the body.
- That a severe case of ecchymosis occurs.
- That the excised Lipoma does not heal properly, even compromising the aesthetics of the skin.
- They can appear in the same place or even develop in a new place.
Thus it is necessary that a skilled and well-known Doctor is consulted.
The surgical procedure is the most effective when clearing Lipomas. The probabilities of incidence are much lower than with the other two mentioned methods!
The most advisable thing is to submit to these procedures only if the situation requires it. If you do not need to remove them, you can also leave them as they are.
Firstly, the patient has to follow a healthy lifestyle. Although there might or might not be a direct correlation between lifestyle habits and Lipoma, still it has been observed that a healthy lifestyle can help.
- Follow a healthy diet. A large number of fatty foods can harm parts of the body and the skin as well.
- Active lifestyle, the light exercise of walking, running and getting a sound sleep will remove excess fat and increase the immunity of the organism, and therefore might increase the resistance of a lipoma.
- Periodical examination by a specialist will help you in time to discover the problem and react quickly to the appearance of irreversible consequences.
Lipomas in the back, as well as the rest of lipomas, can present a series of complications after the intervention, although they are rare. The lipomas that are extracted from the back tend to present more complications if not treated in time. Here we explain the complications of the most known lipomas in the back:
Dehiscence of the suture (reopening of the wound): it is the separation of the edges before the healing process. It may be related to premature mobilizations of the intervened area. Often you cannot suture again, having to let it heal by second intention.
- Bleeding from the wound: can be treated with compression and adequate bandage.
- Seromas and hematomas: they will require evacuation and placement of drains, compression and daily cures.
- Infections: there is a reddening of the edges of the wound greater than 0.5 cm. If pus appears, the infection is safe. It will be necessary to remove the precise points, disinfecting the wound and performing daily cures. An antibiotic will be added.
- Granulomas: hard tumours that appear in the suture, differentiating themselves from the surrounding tissue. Its tendency is towards healing or suppuration, acting accordingly.
- Pigmentation of the scar: usually occurs in areas exposed to the sun. It can be prevented by recommending the use of creams with a high sun protection factor, until six months after the surgery.
- Hypertrophic and keloid scars: they do not depend on the technique but on the patient. Its treatment is complex and, in many cases, with poor results.
The American Cancer Society classifies lipomas as benign tumours.
Myth #1: Lipoma is cancerous
As stated earlier, Lipoma is a form of a benign tumour and thus, not cancerous.
Myth #2: If one gets a Lipoma, there are chances of it spreading to others.
Lipoma is not a communicable disease. It doesn’t spread from one person to another.
Myth #3: Lipoma can spread to nearby muscles and tissues.
In general, Lipoma will not spread to nearby tissues and muscles as well. Thus, if it doesn’t pose an aesthetic or painful consequence to you, it is safe to let it stay as it is.
Myth #4: Lipoma is fatal.
Lipoma is a benign tumour, thus does not pose serious health risks.
Myth #5: Lipoma can be treated by natural remedies
Generally, Lipoma has a single trusted cure, which is surgery. It is not possible to treat Lipoma by natural remedies.
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