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Lipoma is a type of benign lump or cyst that appears under the skin, composed of fat cells, having a rounded shape, and can appear anywhere in the body where fat cells are present, being very common in the shoulders, chest, back, neck, thigh and armpit. In some cases they can also appear in internal organs, bones or muscles.
This type of lump grows slowly, causing aesthetic or physical discomfort. However, it is considered benign and has nothing to do with cancer, although in very rare cases it can turn into a liposarcoma. Know what a liposarcoma is.
Usually, no treatment is necessary, but if the person has concerns about aesthetics, or if the lipoma is painful or grows too fast, the dermatologist may recommend surgery.
Symptoms of lipoma
The main symptom of lipoma includes the formation of a lump or cyst under the skin, in a round shape, with a soft consistency and that moves when pressed.
Usually, the lipoma measures up to 5 cm, however it can grow, and measure more than 10 cm, being called a giant lipoma. In this case, the lipoma can press on the nerves around it and cause pain and even inflammation with a symptom of redness or increased temperature at the site.
How the diagnosis is made
The diagnosis of lipoma must be made by the dermatologist based on clinical examination and biopsy. In addition, when the lipoma is large, the doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography, to check the characteristics of the lipoma or if it is deeper, reaching other tissues besides the fat.
Through the exams it is also possible for the doctor to differentiate the lipoma from the sebaceous cyst, which is also a type of lump under the skin, but is formed by sebum, a fatty substance produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin and which has symptoms similar to lipoma.Learn more about sebaceous cyst.
The exact cause of lipoma is unknown and can occur in men and women, at any age, but it is more common between 40 and 60 years, being rare in children, and should be evaluated by a dermatologist. However, some factors can contribute to the appearance of lipoma such as:
- History of lipoma in the family;
- Gardner's Syndrome;
- Cowden Syndrome;
- Madelung's Disease.
Also, another condition that can cause lipoma is familial multiple lipomatosis, in which the person has multiple cysts, which are usually larger and more painful. Learn all about familial multiple lipomatosis.
How the treatment is done
Generally, no treatment is needed for lipoma. However, when it causes aesthetic concerns or the lipoma is very large, causing pain or difficulty in performing everyday tasks, the dermatologist can perform surgery to remove it.
This surgery is simple, performed in a dermatologist's office and with local anesthesia, and may leave a small scar on the skin, and therefore, the doctor may indicate the use of healing creams such as cicatrene, cicabio or bio-oil to help to improve skin healing, preventing marks. See the best healing creams to use after lipoma removal.
Another treatment option for lipoma is liposuction, in which the dermatologist uses a needle and syringe to remove the fatty tissue.