What is Lipoma?: Causes, Symptoms, Pictures and Types
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A lipoma is a benign lump of fatty tissue that grows gradually between the skin layer and the underlying muscle. It often occurs in people aged 50-60 years and an individual can have more than one lipoma.
Varying in size, a lipoma is generally harmless and may not require treatment. However, if it is bothersome to you, a lipoma can be removed through surgery. This condition is also referred to as ‘Charbi ki Ganth’ in Hindi.
Let’s learn more about lipoma definition, symptoms, causes, types, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and more through lipoma pictures.
|Alternative Name||Fatty Tumour|
|Symptoms||Soft and movable lump, Round or oval-shape, Slow growth, Encapsulated|
|Causes||Hereditary, Dercum's disease, Gardner's syndrome, Madelung's disease|
|Diagnosis||Physical examination, Imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, CT scan, Biopsy|
|Treated by||General Surgeon, Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon|
|Treatment options||Lipoma excision, Liposuction|
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What is a Lipoma?
A lipoma means a soft fatty lump that grows beneath your skin. It is slightly movable with the press of a finger and is usually not painful.
In rare cases, a lipoma can grow and become painful or even cancerous. These fat lumps in body are can be found anywhere on the body, such as lipoma on back, lipoma in neck, lipoma in stomach, etc.
People may often confuse lipoma with a cyst, but there is no such thing as a lipoma cyst. They are two different conditions. Unlike a cyst, lipoma grows deeper into the skin.
Though harmless in most cases, a lipoma can become cancerous in rare cases. They are formed of fatty tissue but some may involve blood vessels and other tissues as well.
Classification of lipoma is done depending on its composition. Some common lipoma types include:
- Angiolipoma: One that contains fat and blood vessels and is generally painful.
- Pleomorphic: This type consists of fat cells of varying sizes and shapes.
- Fibrolipoma: It constitutes fat and fibrous tissue.
- Myelolipoma: This lipoma type is made of fat tissues that produce white blood cells.
- Hibernoma: These lipomas are formed of brown fat that usually generates heat and regulates the body temperature.
- Spindle Cell Lipoma: The fat cells in this type of lipoma appear like spindles, meaning they look longer than they are wide.
- Conventional Lipomas: This is the most common type of lipoma. It contains white fat cells, which store energy.
Read also Lipoma in Hindi.
Though lipomas are commonly painless, they can cause discomfort depending on their location and size. Most people develop lipomas that do not show any symptoms. However, the following signs and symptoms of lipoma can be observed:
- Soft, Movable Lump: A lump just below the surface of the skin, lipoma often feels soft, movable, and painless to the touch.
- Shape: These fatty tissue lumps have a rubbery texture and are mostly symmetrical and round or oval in shape.Most lipomas are smaller than 2 inches in diameter. However, in some cases, lipomas can be as much as 6 inches wide.
- Slow Growth: It tends to grow slowly over a period of months or years and may not show any symptoms until it becomes noticeably large.
- Encapsulated: Lipoma lumps do not usually spread to the surrounding tissues.
- Pain: In rare cases, lipomas can cause pain or discomfort if they press on nerves or other tissues in the body.
The exact cause behind the development of lipomas is unknown but the condition is considered to be inherent. This means you are at an increased risk of developing a lipoma if there is a family history of the condition.
Meanwhile, certain conditions can also trigger the development of lipomas. These include:
- Decrum's Disease: A rare disorder also known as Ander's syndrome or Adiposis Dolorosa, it causes the growth of painful lipomas on the arms, legs, and torso.
- Gardner Syndrome: Also referred to by the name Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), this condition causes multiple lipomas and various other health issues.
- Madelung's Disease: This condition is more common in men who drink alcohol excessively. This disease results in the development of lipomas around your neck and shoulders.
- Hereditary Multiple Lipomatosis: This condition is inherited and passed down through families and is also known as multiple familial lipomatosis.
Lipoma Risk Factors
Certain risk factors may also increase the risk of developing lipomas in body. These include:
- Age: Lipomas are more common in middle-aged adults and increase in frequency with age.
- Genetic Conditions: Certain genetic conditions, such as Gardner syndrome and familial multiple lipomatosis, are associated with a higher risk of developing lipoma.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing a lipoma.
- Alcohol Use Disorder: Excess consumption of alcohol increases your risk of developing Madelung’s disease which can cause a lipoma.
- Traumatic Injury: In rare cases, a lipoma can develop at the site of a previous injury or trauma.
- Diabetes: Disturbances in lipid metabolism are common in diabetes and may increase the risk of developing lipomas.
- High Cholesterol: Studies suggest that lipomas may occur due to abnormal fat metabolism in people with high cholesterol. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
Prevention of Lipoma
Lipoma is known to be an inherited condition, which makes it impossible to prevent it from occurring. However, you can reduce the risk of developing a lipoma by taking care of the following possible factors:
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise may effectively reduce the risk of developing lipoma by promoting a good metabolism and preventing fat accumulation.
- Maintain Healthy Cholesterol: Reducing the consumption of unhealthy fats and intake of a balanced diet can help maintain healthy cholesterol. This can further minimise the risk of a lipoma occurrence.
- Reduce Weight: Maintaining a healthy body weight by intake of proper diet and exercising regularly can help improve metabolism and reduce lipoma development.
- Avoid Alcohol Intake: Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing certain health conditions which may increase the risk of a lipoma.
- Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle: Sitting for long hours and staying inactive can increase the risk of obesity and therefore reduce lipoma occurrence.
How is Lipoma Diagnosed?
The doctor will be able to diagnose the lipoma through physical examination by using his fingers.In case the lipoma becomes painful, is abnormally large, or is presenting any other complication, your doctor may recommend and perform various tests. These include:
- Patient History: The doctor will ask some questions to know about your medical history. You may have to explain the symptoms and give a detailed case summary to the doctor.
- Clinical Examination: The doctor may look for the characteristic 'slippage sign' while evaluating the lipomas on the body. A slip sign in lipoma is performed by gently putting pressure to examine the size, texture, and mobility of the lump or growth.Lipomas are movable, usually small, and soft and can naturally slip from under the fingers.
- Imaging Tests: Ultrasound scan, MRI and CT scan are performed to confirm if the condition is a lipoma or any other like a cancerous tumour.
- Biopsy: In rare cases where the diagnosis is unclear or there is concern about the growth, a tissue sample from the lump is taken and examined under the microscope.
How to prepare for the doctor’s consultation?
You can always prepare yourself prior to a doctor’s appointment. Some of the things that can be kept in mind or noted are as below:
- List down the symptoms including ones that may seem unrelated to the condition.
- The patient should also inform the doctor about the intake of regular diet, medications and supplements.
- Some of the questions that can be asked from the doctor include:
- What’s the likely cause of the lipoma?
- Is it a temporary or a permanent condition?
- Is lipoma cancerous? Does it cause any complications?
- Do I need to undergo any tests?
- Can I undergo lipoma removal surgery? Why or why not?
- What's the procedure for the removal of the lipoma? Are there risks?
- Is it likely to reoccur?
- Can I see some lipoma real images?
- Do you have any resources I can refer to for a better understanding of lipomas?
Most lipomas do not need treatment unless they cause discomfort or other complications. The following treatment methods may be advised by your doctor.
Lipoma Treatment Without Surgery
- Triphala Kala Basti: This contains a combination of Indian gooseberry, black myrobalan and belleric myrobalan. Studies suggest that this compound is capable of reducing fat and cholesterol levels in your body.You can visit our blog to read more about treatment of lipoma in Ayurveda.
- Chickweed: Chickweed is used to reduce fat. Mix 1 teaspoon of chickweed in 2-3 tablespoons of neem oil or linseed oil. Apply the paste on the lipoma.
- Steroid Injections: The doctor will give a steroid injection directly at the site of the lipoma. This can shrink the lipoma but cannot cure or remove it.
Lipoma Treatment With Surgery
When a lipoma is causing complications and discomfort, surgery may be recommended by your doctor. It is important to note that your doctor will diagnose and devise a suitable treatment plan for you. It is best not to undergo any treatments without a doctor’s investigation and consultation.
Following are the surgical procedures done to treat lipoma.
- Lipoma Removal Surgery: Most lipomas are removed through lipoma removal surgery by cutting them under the influence of local anaesthesia.
- Liposuction: A cosmetic surgical procedure, liposuction is used to remove the fatty tissue from the lipoma growth.
Cost of Lipoma Surgery
The cost of lipoma surgery in India can vary depending on several factors, including the type of surgery, the hospital or clinic where the procedure is performed, and the location.
The following table shows the cost of different types of lipoma surgery:
|Surgery Name||Surgery Cost|
|Lipoma Removal Surgery||₹ 20,000 to ₹ 1,00,000|
|Liposuction||₹ 40,000 to ₹ 1,00,000|
Risks and Complications of Lipoma
Lipomas that develop in certain locations can cause obstruction or bleeding by pressing on the surrounding blood vessels. If the lipoma is pressing on a nerve, it will be painful or may develop other symptoms related to nerve pressure.
Below mentioned are some of the complications of lipomas:
- Pain: A lipoma can cause pain or discomfort if it presses on nearby nerves or tissue.
- Cardiac Lipoma: Lipoma that grows around the heart can cause embolism.
- Gastrointestinal Lipoma: A lipoma that grows in the stomach can cause an obstruction as well as cause bleeding, apart from which the lipoma can also take the form of an ulcer.
- Cancerous Tumours: In extremely rare cases, a lipoma can develop into a cancerous tumour called a liposarcoma.
- Cosmetic Concerns: Depending on the size and location of the lipoma, it can cause cosmetic concerns for some individuals.
When to see a doctor?
The patient can consult the doctor if he/she notices a lump or swelling anywhere on the body. Also, in case the following symptoms show up, you can visit a doctor:
- Unbearable pain
- Rapid growth
- Difficult to move it
Diet for Lipoma
Lipoma being an inherent condition cannot be prevented. However, you can maintain a healthy balanced diet and avoid the consumption of unhealthy foods to stay healthy and disease-free.
The food that an individual eats and their lifestyle plays a pivotal role in the development of any disease. Below mentioned are some dietary steps that can be undertaken by an individual if he/she has lipoma.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Increase your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants that help reduce fat in the blood.Some examples of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants are blueberries, raspberries, apples, plums, citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, squash and bell peppers.
- Fish: Fish contains healthy omega-3 fats and protein in good amounts.Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation and may help limit the growth of lipomas. Salmon and tuna are high sources of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein.
- Avoid Fast and Processed Food: Limiting the consumption of such foods can help you cut back on unhealthy fats such as trans fat.
- Limit Red Meat Consumption: Red meat is often injected with antibiotics or hormones. This increases the cholesterol levels in your body which can promote the growth of lipoma.
Though a lipoma is not harmful, it may cause some discomfort depending on the size and location. Fatty tissue growth leads to the development of a lipoma and there is no such way to prevent its occurrence.
In some cases where lipoma causes discomfort or pain, surgery may be necessary. Some of the surgical procedures performed to remove a lipoma can be cutting out the lipoma or doing liposuction to remove the fatty tissue from the lipoma growth.
You can get in touch with HexaHealth to know the best treatment options available for lipoma. We can be your buddy from getting to know about the condition to the post-surgical care stage.
FAQs for Lipoma
What is lipoma meaning?
A lipoma is a lumpy growth in fatty tissue on any part of the body. It is often moveable when pressed by a finger. Lipomas can vary in size and location and are generally not painful.
What is the most common cause of the lipoma?
To date, the cause of lipomas is not completely understood. However, most lipomas are inherited i.e., passed down through families. You are more likely to develop a lipoma if someone in your family has the condition.
What is the most common symptom of lipoma?
Usually, lipomas are not painful, but they can cause discomfort if they press against a nerve or develop near a joint. People with lipoma generally do not notice any symptoms.
Is lipoma dangerous?
Lipoma is a benign condition, meaning it is not dangerous. However, if you feel pain or discomfort it can be removed through a lipoma removal surgery.
Who is at risk of developing lipomas? Are lipomas common?
Lipomas are very common, occurring in approximately 1 out of 100 people. While anyone can develop lipomas. However, people between the ages of 40 to 60 have shown a higher tendency to develop lipomas.
If a lipoma is harmless, why should I get it removed?
Patients have their lipomas removed for many reasons. Especially in patients with multiple lipomas in visible places, removal is necessary for cosmetic reasons. In other patients, lipomas can become large enough to pose a physical burden.
What is the way for lipoma prevention?
There is no way to prevent a lipoma from developing as it is a condition inherited and passed down through family.
What is the treatment for lipomas?
There are non-surgical and surgical ways to treat lipoma. Non-surgical ways include steroid injections where your doctor will inject steroids to reduce the size of the lipoma. The surgical way includes Lipoma Removal and Liposuction methods.
How long is the recovery after lipoma treatment?
The recovery after lipoma treatment is rapid because lipomas are generally located on the surface of the body, surgical removal does not cause very much trauma to the body.
How painful is lipoma removal?
With local anaesthesia, you may still feel pressure or push, but you should not feel any pain. If your lipoma is large or deep, you may be given general anaesthesia. General anaesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery.
Is it worth it to remove a lipoma?
Because they are not cancerous, lipomas most often do not need treatment unless they affect your daily life. Also, most of the lipomas are benign, thus they only need to be monitored and not removed.
Do lipomas grow back after removal?
Usually, there are almost negligible chances of lipoma recurrence after it is removed surgically. But in patients with multiple lipoma conditions may experience lipomas that come back after they have been removed.
Does insurance cover treatment for lipoma?
Yes, all health insurance plans cover the treatment for lipoma. Paperwork is facilitated by our team on your behalf ensuring smooth approval and a cashless facility. Contact HexaHealth for a simple cashless and hassle-free experience.
What is the cost of lipoma surgery?
The cost of lipoma surgery is variable, considering the type of hospital chosen, the severity and type of lipoma, the technique recommended, the patient's medical condition based on age and other health factors, etc. Contact HexaHealth for price transparency.
What are the myths versus facts about lipoma?
- Myth: Lipomas are cancerous
Fact: No, Lipomas are non-cancerous benign lumps that are composed of fatty tissue only.
- Myth: Lipomas never cause pain.
Fact: Lipomas generally do not cause any pain. However, if the lipoma is pressing on a nerve, it may develop pain or other symptoms related to nerve pressure
- Myth: It is not necessary to undergo lipoma removal.
Fact: Generally, lipoma does not cause any adverse health problems, but if the lipoma increases in size and number or has become painful, the doctor may suggest a surgical procedure for lipoma removal.
What are the most common lipoma causes?
Conditions such as Decrum's Disease, Hereditary Multiple Lipomatosis, Gardner Syndrome and Madelung's Disease.
- Liver disease
- High cholesterol levels
- Glucose intolerance
- Alcohol use disorder
What is a slip sign in lipoma?
What are the common locations where a lipoma can occur?
- Lipoma on back
- Lipoma in stomach
- Lipoma in neck
What is fibrolipoma meaning?
Is lipoma like a lump under skin?
How to differentiate a cyst vs lipoma?
Is lipoma painful?
All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.
Updated on : 28 April 2023
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