What is a Lipoma?
There are many types of skin tumours, but a lipoma usually has distinct characteristics. If you suspect that you have a lipoma, look out for these possible symptoms:
- It is soft to the touch
- The lump moves easily if prodded with your finger
- It appears just under the skin
- It is colourlessThe lump will grow slowly
Lipomas are most commonly located on the neck, upper arms, thighs, forearms. However, they can also occur in other areas such as the stomach and back.
A lipoma is only painful if it compresses nerves underneath the skin although a variant known as angiolipoma is also more often painful than regular lipomas.
You should seek medical advice if you notice any changes in your skin. Lipomas can look very similar to a rare cancer called a liposarcoma.
How is Lipoma Treated
A lipoma that is left alone typically does not cause any problems. However, even if the lump does bother you, you should seek professional medical advice. Your doctor will recommend the best course of treatment depending on several factors, including:
- Whether the lipoma is painful
- The size of the lipoma
- The number of skin tumours you have
- Your personal history of skin cancer
- Your family’s history of skin cancer
The most common way to treat a lipoma is by removing it surgically. This procedure is typically done under local anaesthesia through a procedure known as excision and is especially helpful if you have a large skin tumour that is still growing.
Just a point to note, lipomas may still grow back even after they are surgically removed.
Alternatively, steroid injections are another possible course of treatment for a lipoma. The injection will be used directly over the affected area. However, while this treatment can shrink the lipoma, it does not remove it entirely.