Lipoma is a lump of fat cells found just below the skin layer. Lipoma is the most common non-cancerous soft tissue. They are most often found on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms and armpits. Sometimes one or more lipoma might be present at the same location. Cause of occurrence of lipoma is not known; however, studies say that lipoma is inherited. Sometimes even a small injury can trigger the start of lipoma. However, lipoma doesn’t occur due to overweight. Lipomas can occur at any age and to both male and female with same frequency.
Lipomas are small, usually 1cm to 3 cm in size, often painless, found just below the skin. They do not grow in size, the size remains same; very rarely and slowly the size might increase. They are usually movable and have a rubber like consistency. Lipomas can be diagnosed by doctor just by looking at it; however, some tests are conducted to ensure that they are not cancerous. Based on the symptoms, patient should consult a doctor as early as possible to avoid any further problems.
Most often lipomas remain dormant without being treated. They are painless and cause no harm to the body. However, in case of pain or infection doctors suggest removing it by surgery. The surgery is very simple and can be carried out in the doctor’s office or outpatient surgery centre itself. Prior to surgery doctor gives local anaesthesia, then a cut is made around the lipoma. The lump is removed and the area is stitched back. Only if the lipoma is present in a region which is not easily accessible then general anaesthesia is given to the patient and the surgery is carried out in the operation theatre. After the surgery, patient attains improved visual appearance, and is relieved of pain or irritation if any.
Alternative choices of Surgery
Apart from the direct surgical option, there are other options available for lipoma removal.
- Injection of steroids into the tumour: Certain injections suppress the tumour and eventually dissolve it.
- Liposuction: It is a procedure that removes fat cells from the human body through suction. During Liposuction small, thin and blunt tipped tubes are inserted within the skin through extremely tiny cuts. The cuts are based on the position which has fat deposition. Through the tubes fat is then suctioned out.
Lipoma removal is essential only to ensure that the tumour is not cancerous, however, sometimes it might be required as a step towards beautification.