If you have a lump underneath your skin, you may be worried that it's a tumor. It's a good idea to visit a dermatologist to get a diagnosis. They can perform a biopsy where a portion of the tissue will be removed and checked for any disease. If the lump under your skin feels doughy, doesn't hurt, and can move easily under the skin with light pressure then it may be a harmless lipoma. Read on to learn more about what lipomas are and how to treat them.
What Is a Lipoma?
A lipoma is a benign tumor of fatty tissues. Lipomas are often situated between the dermis and the underlying muscle layer. They can occur anywhere but tend to form on the neck, shoulders, armpits, and thighs.
What Causes Them?
There may be a genetic factor since lipomas tend to run in families, but doctors still aren't quite sure what causes them. Some health factors can increase the risk of lipoma development, such as liver disease, high cholesterol, or a high BMI. People with diabetes, Cowden syndrome, and Gardener's syndrome are more likely to develop lipomas than other people.
Because lipomas are usually painless, some people opt not to get them removed. However, if a lipoma develops near an increased number of blood vessels and nerves, it can cause some people pain if pressure is applied to the skin. In these cases, then you may want to visit a dermatologist to get it removed.
Also, while lipomas are usually small and only a few centimeters in width, some can grow very large and be a cosmetic concern. Again, in these cases, you may want to have the tumor removed.
How Are They Removed?
Dermatologists can usually remove lipomas during one appointment since you will only need a local anesthetic in the area of the lipoma. You don't need to go under general anesthesia. The doctor will make a small incision and pop the fatty tumor out. They will then stitch up the site. There may be a small scar where the lipoma once was, but there's typically no major side effects from removal. To reduce the incision site, some doctors opt to use liposuction. During liposuction, your doctor would insert a thin tube through the incision to suck out fatty cells.
Even if your dermatologist diagnoses the tumor as a lipoma, they will likely send a portion of the tissue to the lab for a biopsy to make sure that there are no other complications. Contact a dermatologist in your area for more information.