According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a lipoma is a slow-growing, fatty lump between the skin and the underlying muscle. It is a common condition with about 200,000 new cases per year in the United States. You may suspect the growth is a lipoma if it feels “doughy,” non-tender, and moves with slight finger pressure.
Lipomas are more common in middle age and it is possible to have more than one lipoma. Though they are harmless, the appearance may make you self-conscious.
In such cases, speaking with a plastic surgery specialist will be beneficial. Dr. Thomas J. Zaydon is an expert plastic surgeon in Miami who specializes in scars and reconstructive surgery due to injury and illness, including lipomas. If you would like to find out more about the symptoms, causes and treatment for lipoma, stay with us and read more!
Symptoms of a lipoma
Though lipomas can occur anywhere on the body, you most typically see them on the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms, and thighs. Lipomas are generally small in size, on average less than 2 inches in diameter. They do have the ability to grow larger.
Lipomas are generally painless; however, there are exceptions. If a lipoma grows in diameter and pushes against nerve endings of surrounding tissue, pain may result. It may also be quite painful if the lipoma contains blood vessels.
Causes and risk factors of a lipoma
The exact cause of lipomas is unknown. They do seem to have a genetic component, seen in generations of families. They are also more common between the ages of 40 and 60, though they can occur at any age.
Although lipomas are generally harmless, if you notice a bump or lump on your body it is important to not self-diagnose. Obtaining a plastic surgery consultation can help with proper diagnosis and give you peace of mind.
What to expect in a plastic surgery consultation
If you suspect a lipoma, first reach out to schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon expert. They will conduct a physical exam and possibly obtain a tissue sample for biopsy. Images such as a CT scan or MRI are ordered if the lipoma is large, unusual in appearance, or involves deeper tissue.
It is important to note that, in rare cases, lumps that resemble lipomas can be a form of cancer called liposarcoma. These are cancerous tumors that occur within fatty tissues. They usually grow rapidly, are painful under the skin, and do not move when trying to manipulate. If suspected, they can generally be diagnosed through a biopsy, MRI, or CT scans.
Treatment for lipomas
It is usually unnecessary to treat lipomas but, if bothersome or painful, there are options to remove them. Plastic surgeons may use surgical treatment or liposuction to remove the lipoma. Surgical removal involves cutting it out from under the skin, which can mean scarring.
When the surgeon chooses liposuction as an option, they will use a needle or large syringe to remove the fatty lipoma. The procedure is safe with minimal risk of complications. You will want to discuss the best option for you, given the size and location of your lipoma.
Meet Dr. Thomas Zaydon – our plastic surgery consultant
If you are seeking reconstructive surgery, you need an expert plastic surgeon witness, or need assistance with a worker’s compensation case, then a plastic surgeon consultation is necessary. Contact Doctor Zaydon at the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami. With 20 years of experience as a board-certified plastic surgeon, he can assist with numerous procedures, including addressing scars, lipomas, and cosmetic needs.
If you would like more information, please call us at (305) 856-3030 or click here to schedule an appointment today. We are also offering a virtual consultation. For more information, check out our post about telemedicine in plastic surgery.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.