What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a fatty lump, typically located between the skin and the muscle. They can appear almost anywhere on the body, but most commonly occur on the neck, torso, upper arms, upper thighs and armpits.
Having a lipoma (or multiple lipomas) can make someone feel self-conscious or embarrassment. This is often true for people with lipomas on the neck and face, but people with lipomas on the abdomen or thighs may also feel insecure. You don't need to suffer in silence. Dr. Memsic is highly skilled in lipoma removal with almost undetectable results. To learn more about lipomas and lipoma treatment, read below or call our office and schedule your consult today.
Do I have a lipoma?
If you have a lump or bump with the following traits you may have a lipoma. Make an appointment, or see your local doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Lipoma symptoms and characteristics:
They are located directly under the skin
Usually occur in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms and thighs
They grow very slowly.
They feel doughy and soft.
They move easily when touched.
They are typically less than two inches in diameter, but can grow to larger sizes.
Most often occur in people ages 40 - 60.
Lipomas are typically not painful (unless they press against a nerve or contain blood vessels).
Although it can be frightening to have a lump under your skin, lipomas are benign (non-cancerous) and perfectly safe. However, there are conditions which mimic a lipoma that require attention. If you have a growth, make an appointment with a lipoma specialist, or your primary care provider for an accurate diagnosis.
Risk factors & causes
Lipomas can cause discomfort, restrict movement or be a source of embarrassment, so many patients choose to have them removed.
The exact cause of lipomas is unknown, however, if you have a family member who has a lipoma, there is a greater probability that you may develop one. Other conditions such as adiposis dolorosa, cowden syndrome, Madelung disease and Gardner’s syndrome can produce lipomas.
Is it common to have recurring lipomas?
People who develop lipomas have are predisposed to have lipomas recur in the future. Recurring and multiple lipomas are not dangerous. They have the same characteristics of any other lipoma — they are completely benign growths consisting mainly of fat. While they are harmless, they may still require treatment if they are causing pain, difficulty of movement (or embarrasment!)
I think I have a lipoma. What should I do?
Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider, or a lipoma specialist to rule out other conditions and receive an accurate diagnosis. You don't have to wonder and worry, information and knowledge will empower you!
Dr. Memsic is an expert in minimally invasive and minimal incision lipoma treatment and care, with decades of experience helping patients with lipomas. Dr. Memsic and her team are proud to provide patients with compassionate, highly effective lipoma treatment and care.
Lipoma are typically treated with steroids, liposuction, or surgical removal:
Steroid injections can help to shrink smaller lipomas, but since the lump isn't removed they can to grow back over time. This technique works best on lipomas that are less than 1 inch in diameter. Results usually occur in 3 to 4 weeks and may require multiple injections over intervals of several months. Complications are rare but may be a result of negative response to the medication or the procedure.
Liposuction can be used to remove small or large lipomas. Some physicians opt for liposuction to remove large lipomas to allow for smaller incisions. The downside is that liposuction can rarely remove the entire lipoma.
Surgical removal is the only way to completely remove a lipoma. Lipoma surgery is usually a simple outpatient procedure done with local anesthetic. Dr. Memsic is highly skilled in using tiny incisions for the least amount of visible scarring. There is typically no downtime, most patients resume their normal activities right away and enjoy the relief of lipoma removal immediately.
Is it common to have recurring lipomas?
People who develop lipomas have are predisposed to have additional lipomas in the future. Even when lipomas recur, they are highly treatable.
Are recurring or multiple lipomas dangerous?
Because lipomas are surface growths, they are highly treatable with very little discomfort. There are a variety of lipoma treatment options. The method chosen will depend upon on your individual case. When you arrive for your initial consultation and examination, Dr. Memsic will take the time necessary to discuss these options so the best decision can be made.
Steroid injections can be used to reduce the size of lipomas however this method of treatment rarely eliminates the lipoma completely.
Because lipomas are made of fatty tissue, liposuction can be utilized as way to get rid of most of their mass. Unfortunately, much like steroid injections, liposuction may not be successful in removing the entirety of the lipoma.
By far the most effective treatment for lipomas is surgical removal. Lipoma surgery is a brief outpatient procedure that is typically performed under local anesthesia. Because lipomas are typically located directly beneath the skin, the incision is not deep and only leaves a thin scar. Lipoma surgery is short, generally lasting less than an hour. Patients can go home shortly after their surgery. All in all, lipoma surgery is a remarkably easy and comfortable procedure, which usually provides complete relief to the patient.